Interpretative Statement on the Ministerial Council Decision on Extension of the Appointment of the OSCE Secretary General

The United States welcomes the extension of the term of Secretary General Helga Schmid. (OSCE Photo)

Interpretative Statement on the Ministerial Council Decision on Extension of the Appointment of the OSCE Secretary General

As delivered by Ambassador Michael R. Carpenter
to the OSCE Ministerial Council, Skopje, North Macedonia
December 1, 2023

In connection with the adoption of the decision on the extension of the mandate of the OSCE Secretary General, 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 welcomes the extension of the term of Secretary General Helga Schmid.  While we joined consensus on this decision as an exceptional temporary measure in the interest of ensuring the continued leadership of the OSCE, this should have been a regular three-year extension.  This decision does not set a precedent for future appointments or extensions of the term of the Secretary General.  

We support the work of the Secretary General and the OSCE Secretariat. We recall that the Secretary General derives his/her authority from the collective decisions of the participating States and acts under the guidance of the Chairperson-in-Office. He or she is the Chief Administrative Officer of the OSCE, and is tasked, among other things, to act as the representative of the Chairperson-in-Office and support him or her in all activities aimed at fulfilling the goals of the OSCE.   

Nothing in this decision should be interpreted to alter the mandate of the Secretary General or restrict the work of the Secretary General in the full exercise of his or her mandate.  

Finally, the United States underscores that it is the OSCE participating States which have adopted the OSCE’s principles, commitments, and decisions, and it is first and foremost the responsibility of the participating States to implement them.  

I request that this interpretative statement be attached to the decision and that it be included in the journal of the day.  

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