Interpretative Statement on the Decision on the Programme Office in Dushanbe
As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Kate M. Byrnes
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
June 1, 2017
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
In connection with the adoption by the Permanent Council of the decision for the mandate of the OSCE Program Office in Dushanbe, the United States would like to make the following interpretative statement under paragraph IV.1(A)6 of the OSCE Rules of Procedure.
The United States has joined consensus on the new mandate for the OSCE field presence in Tajikistan, now called the Program Office in Dushanbe. We do so with the understanding that the new mandate will not be used to restrict the autonomy of the Office and its ability to respond flexibly to challenges or issues as they arise, and to engage in meaningful activity that addresses the full range of OSCE commitments. We also join consensus with the understanding that the Office will continue to freely cooperate and exchange information with academia, civil society, and other OSCE structures, and to work throughout the country.
Hosting an OSCE presence is an opportunity for a participating State to demonstrate leadership and good faith in working toward full implementation of OSCE commitments. In order to provide practical support in this regard, an OSCE field presence must be able to engage with the host government, academia, and civil society, and raise shortcomings and gaps in implementation honestly and straightforwardly. It also must be free to pursue openly and honestly its mandate to support implementation of the full range of OSCE commitments. These are not concerns limited to Tajikistan; they are operational principles essential to maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of any OSCE field presence.
The government of Tajikistan has repeatedly assured other participating States that it desires strong collaboration with the OSCE. We welcome this sentiment. The United States looks forward to the government of Tajikistan working collaboratively with the Program Office, including through consultations on an annual plan of programs and projects to be developed across all three dimensions of the OSCE’s comprehensive security concept. While we regret the closure of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan’s field offices, we also look forward to the continuation of projects throughout the country.
We continue to believe that the Border Management Staff College (BMSC), to which we are a major donor, should be funded from the Unified Budget. The BMSC offers training to professionals from many OSCE participating and Partner States, not just those from Tajikistan. The delay in negotiating a new mandate for the OSCE field presence this year demonstrated clearly the tenuous nature of having the BMSC continue as simply an extra-budgetary project of the Program Office. As Tajikistan has repeatedly expressed its support for hosting the BMSC, we hope that we can resolve this issue for the 2018 Unified Budget.
I request that this interpretative statement be attached to the decision and to the journal of the day.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.