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Address by the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Sven Mikser at the OSCE Ministerial Meeting

8. December 2016 - 21:56

Hamburg, December 8-9, 2016

Mr. Chairman, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It has been a year full of challenges and I would like to pay tribute to my German colleague for his good work throughout this year. Hopefully the discussions in Hamburg will lead us to more cooperation at the OSCE to carry out the full potential of this organization.

The OSCE has been a cornerstone of our common endeavour to establish comprehensive and co-operative security. Unfortunately, our commitments to follow these norms and principles have been put under question.

The situation in and around Ukraine remains a major concern for the security and the stability of Europe. We call upon all parties to respect Minsk Agreements and to bring them to full implementation. Our key priority is to find solution to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. I highly commend OSCE’s unprecedented efforts for peaceful conflict resolution in Ukraine. It is crucial to ensure that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission’s observers have unhindered access to the whole territory of the conflict zone, and the monitors’ safety is secured. Estonia will continue supporting and contributing to the mission.

Estonia does not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and we also condemn the illegal militarization of the peninsula. We are deeply worried about the deterioration of human rights situation and violation of fundamental rights of the peoples in Crimea.

I pay tribute to the notable progress Ukraine has made in implementing the necessary reforms. According to the Paris Charter, the states have freedom to choose their own security arrangements. I hereby reaffirm Estonia’s continuous support to Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic course.

Estonia encourages the OSCE to continue with the efforts towards the peaceful resolution of protracted conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Georgia and Moldova. In this regard, we welcome the incoming Chair’s decision to focus on protracted conflicts during her chairmanship.

Ladies and gentleman,

In principle, the strong independent institutions and field missions should strengthen the OSCE, but their existence and autonomy is regularly challenged by some participating States. Estonia values highly OSCE’s institutions and missions’ significant role in early warning, conflict prevention and democracy-building. Their autonomy, sufficient financial means and necessary personnel resources, including timely appointments, are vital preconditions for the implementation of the agreed mandates.

Conventional arms control is a topic that we should continue to put emphasis on, given the fact of non-appliance or selective application of the existing mechanisms. There is a clear need for strengthening and modernising of the arms control instruments, and it is important to implement current arrangements. We believe, that OSCE is a natural forum for such consultations.

To sum up, allow me to wish all success to Austria in taking up the responsibility and chairing the OSCE in 2017, in a transparent and inclusive way. You can count on Estonia’s support.

Thank you!

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