Response to Three Committee Chairs

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
March 22, 2012

We welcome to the Permanent Council today the chairs of the three committees. Gentlemen, you have offered us useful, optimistic reports of the work that we can accomplish during the course of this year.  We thank you for your dedication to this organization, your leadership, and your efforts to strengthen cooperation with the OSCE’s institutions, including the Parliamentary Assembly.  We share your belief in the potential of this organization.

The United States looks to the OSCE and its institutions, offices, and committees to protect and to strengthen the principles of human dignity and democracy, justice and tolerance, and prosperity and peace that are at the core of the OSCE and its comprehensive security concept.

I take this moment to reiterate for the committee chairs, for the Chairmanship, and for my colleagues among the participating States some of the United States’ priorities for this year.

We want to see the Human Dimension strengthen its focus on the fundamental freedoms whose exercise is essential to the success and security of our citizens, our countries and the OSCE community in the 21st century.  We seek an explicit recognition among the participating States that these fundamental freedoms do not change with new technologies and extend into the digital realm and that therefore the exercise of these freedoms must be respected in cyberspace as well as in physical space.  We also want to see OSCE collectively, and the participating States individually, take practical, concrete action to better implement Human Dimension commitments and institute best practices, including, for example, in support of civil society and in the tolerance field.

We look to this organization, to the participating States, and to the citizens and NGOs who attend the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting each year to take every opportunity to hold all of us accountable for meeting our commitments, and we reaffirm our pledge to support robust human dimension activity that embodies our core values.

The same values apply in the Economic and Environmental Dimension, where we want to see this organization embrace good governance and transparency as core principles that make our region stronger.  We believe that the second dimension’s activities should support the fight against corruption, money laundering, and terrorist financing by providing capacity-building opportunities and reinforcing our shared commitment to meeting international standards.  We call on all delegations to support an OSCE endorsement of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and to establish a level economic playing field that provides equal opportunity for all of our citizens.

In the Political-Military Dimension our goals are simple.  For a number of reasons that we all know well, there is less military transparency in Europe today than we enjoyed a decade ago.  We need to turn that trend line around.  In the Forum for Security Cooperation, we continue to seek consensus on updates to the Vienna Document that will increase transparency and the effectiveness of confidence and security-building measures.  Russia’s failure to implement its Vienna Document commitments since January 2012 is a concern; we urge Russia to resume implementation immediately.  Here in the Permanent Council, we want to strengthen the collective commitment among the participating States to cooperate in combating trans-national threats that pose risks to all of us, large and small states alike.  This organization has identified tools to help us combat these threats, and we are long overdue in coming to agreement on good, strong, practical decisions on cyber security, terrorism, narcotics, and police.  We should move on these decisions now.

Mr. Chairman, the presentations today highlight the wide range of important work that the OSCE and its institutions are carrying out across all three dimensions.  They  also underscore the challenges we face in ensuring that the OSCE lives up to its full potential in promoting comprehensive security throughout the region.   That potential will remain out of reach as long as participating States fail to implement – or attempt to weaken – existing commitments, or where the adoption of new commitments that would strengthen OSCE’s capacity to act are blocked for reasons wholly unrelated to their substance

I take this opportunity to encourage all delegations to reflect on the promise offered in the three committees’ work plans for the year, and I reiterate the United States’ our support for the Committee Chairs, our commitment to the OSCE, and to the platform it offers all delegations to contribute to our shared security.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.