Response to the Report by the Director of the Conflict Prevention Center, Ambassador Adam Kobieracki

As prepared for delivery by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
September 19, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

Ambassador Kobieracki, we warmly welcome you back to the Permanent Council and thank you for your comprehensive report.

Ambassador, we appreciate your report’s focus on a core mission of the OSCE – conflict prevention.  We commend the CPC for its work to address the elements of the conflict cycle, promote the implementation of confidence-building measures, and serve as the Secretariat’s interface with field operations, and provide programmatic support.

Addressing the protracted conflicts must remain high on the Organization’s agenda.  We should not let divisive issues prevent us from discussing how to overcome our differences.  Indeed, I agree with your assessment that confidence-building measures can only be successful when there is the will to promote joint efforts, and the resolve to make a difference on the ground.

The OSCE’s support to address existing conflicts and promote confidence-building measures is enhanced by the CPC’s ongoing efforts to further develop its toolbox as mandated by Ministerial Council Decision 3/11 on “Elements of the Conflict Cycle”.  As you noted in your report, the relationship of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Conflict Cycle (OEWG) to the Helsinki + 40 process still needs to be determined.  We hope that the valuable work of the OEWG will continue to provide input to shaping our discussions and strengthening the Organization’s toolbox.

We note positively the impact of the CPC’s work to implement a second package of water-related projects, and its ongoing engagement in the Geneva International Discussions and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism, which contributes to stabilizing the security situation in the South Caucasus.  We look forward to the upcoming exhibition on the water projects.

We also appreciate the work of the CPC in support of the 5+2 negotiations and related efforts towards confidence-building measures for the two sides of the Transnistria conflict.

We welcome the CPC’s efforts to follow up on a number of security-related incidents between ethnic communities in the Ferghana Valley, and encourage the CPC to continue to monitor the situation in this fragile neighborhood.

We appreciate the integral roles the CPC and the OSCE field mission are playing to help facilitate what we hope will be free, fair, and transparent municipal elections in Kosovo on November 3. The United States urges eligible voters throughout Kosovo, including in the north, to exercise their right to participate in the democratic process.

We appreciate the efforts of the CPC during the year to cooperate with the Transnational Threats Department in guiding the Border Management Staff College and the Community Security Initiative.

We also welcome the CPC’s political and programmatic assistance to field missions, which enhances the capacities of those missions and ensures that their work reflects Vienna-based policy guidance.  Field operations also have a valuable role to play in early warning, conflict prevention, and the promotion of confidence-building measures through their reporting.  We hope that this element of their work in all regions can be strengthened.

Mr. Ambassador, we thank you for the CPC’s support for the Chairmanship-led visit to Mongolia in late May, and we commend you for the CPC’s readiness to assist in setting up a field presence in Mongolia.  The United States unequivocally supports the establishment of a mission in Ulaanbaatar.  Never before has the OSCE refused a request from a participating State for an OSCE field presence; we should not do so now.  Mongolia’s request is evidence of strong Mongolian commitment and leadership, as well as of the value of field operations and their appeal.  There is much we can do to bolster all field operations; for example, the joint task force meetings in Tajikistan should be extended to other presences.

In conclusion, thank you again, Ambassador Kobieracki, for your report.  We wish you and your team success in the coming year.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.