OSCE Ministerial Held Against Backdrop of European Security Crisis

PRESS RELEASE | December 5, 2014

On December 4-5, 50 ministers led delegations to the 2014 Basel Ministerial of the OSCE, the 57-country European security body based in Vienna. Secretary of State John Kerry led the U.S. delegation.

Russia’s destabilizing actions in Ukraine dominated the Ministerial’s plenary sessions. Joining others, Secretary Kerry urged Russia to fully implement the agreements they signed in Minsk, to end their destabilizing actions in Ukraine and elsewhere in the region.

“Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and purported annexation and illegal occupation of Crimea has come at a high cost, to both the people of Ukraine and Russia,” stated U.S. Permanent Representative to the OSCE, Ambassador Daniel Baer in the closing session. “The crisis we confront is not a flaw in the rules and underlying principles of the international system – it is the failure of the Russian federation to abide by those rules and principles.”

Over the past year, the OSCE has jumped to action in a variety of ways to respond to Russia’s interventions in Ukraine. The US and others highlighted the opportunity for the regional organization to build on this crisis response capacity.

As ministers met, activists gathered at a nearby hotel in a parallel civil society conference–they presented their recommendations to OSCE chair and Swiss President Didier Burkhalter this week. The United States stands firmly by those courageous civil society activists and journalists in their efforts to press governments to respect human rights and freedoms as a crucial contribution to the security of all OSCE participating States.