Statement by the Permanent Representative of Estonia, Ambassador Sven Jürgenson.
First, I thank the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Prime Minister Edi Rama, for his comprehensive briefing on the Albanian Chairmanship’s priorities and for his clear focus on the need to comply with the OSCE’s norms, principles and responsibilities – this is the basis for security and stability in the entire OSCE area, as well as for conflict resolution. To achieve this, global and regional organizations need to work hand in hand. We need a strong cooperation between the OSCE and the United Nations.
Estonia stands strongly for the free and independent work of all OSCE’s mechanisms and institutions and recognizes that more political support is needed for this. The Special Monitoring Mission remains the most reliable source of information of the situation on the ground in Ukraine. It is therefore regrettable, that the restrictions posed on the SMM’s freedom of movement have persisted in non-government-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine, hindering the Mission from fully implementing its mandate. More so, the attempts to threaten, intimidate and harass SMM’s personnel as well as targeting and damaging SMM assets, including UAVs, are deplorable. These are grave violations of international law and of OSCE’s obligations.
We condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and military aggression in eastern Ukraine. International human rights monitoring missions and human rights non-governmental organizations must have access to Crimea, in line with relevant UN resolutions.
We are deeply concerned that the security situation in Donbass has become more volatile. A 400-km uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border remains free to flows of weaponry and personnel, which makes the conflict even more tense and fragile. We call on Russia, as a party to the conflict, to fully implement the commitments of the Minsk Agreements, including those undertaken at the Normandy Four Summit in Paris on the 9th of December. This includes the establishment of full and comprehensive ceasefire – a situation that has lately worsened, and that has led to more civilian casualties.
Over 13 000 people have been killed. More than 3000 of them were civilians and more than 30 000 are wounded since the beginning of the conflict.
Military and financial support for the armed formations responsible for this has to stop. The de-occupation and effective return of Ukraine’s territories is the most efficient way to restore regional security.
Prime Minister Rama, how the OSCE and the Security Council could further practically assist in pushing for the steps needed for the solution of the conflict?
Estonia also reiterates its deep concern about the Russian military build-up in Georgia’s occupied regions, which is in violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We call Russia to fulfill the Ceasefire Agreement the 12 August 2008 and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008 and withdraw its military forces from Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia regions without delay.
Additionally we are deeply worried about Russian military exercises, infrastructure reinforcements and borderization activities in the Georgian regions of Abkhasia and South Ossetia. The restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement on conflict-affected populations is an example of such actions. They further divide Georgian communities and create hardship, frustration and fears amongst local populations. We urge Russia to cease these destabilizing actions in Georgia.
The EU Monitoring Mission remains the only international presence on the ground and we deplore any actions to prevent its work. Furthermore, we recall that the EUMM’s mandate covers the whole territory of Georgia, including its regions of Abkhazia and South-Ossetia.
We strongly support the OSCE Chairperson’s efforts in conflict resolution and underline the urgent need for a meaningful cross-dimensional OSCE presence throughout Georgia’s full territory, which would considerably help the OSCE in the Geneva International Discussions, the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms and in the implementation of confidence-building measures.
We regret that the Geneva International Discussions, on its core topics of security and stability and humanitarian issues, remain challenging and we stress that more political will is needed to enhance these substantial discussions in order to achieve tangible results.
Estonia supports the efforts of the OSCE Chairperson, his Special Representative and the Mission to resolve the Transnistrian conflict in Moldova. A peaceful, comprehensive and lasting settlement must be reached, while ensuring the stability, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova within its internationally recognized borders. We call on the Mission to continue to monitor the situation in the security zone and to report regularly on the incidents taking place there.
Finally, we support the OSCE Minsk Group’s work in spearheading the efforts towards resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We call on all parties to fully cooperate with the Minsk Group mediators and to refrain from destabilizing activities and rhetoric.
I thank you.