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Report by OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre: UK statement to the OSCE

Thank you, Madam Chair.  And thank you, Ms Fearon, for your first report to the Permanent Council since taking on this crucial role.

Your report is sobering and timely. It is a stark reminder of the value – both potential and realised – of the OSCE’s unique conflict cycle toolbox. It offers us a response to the complex and substantial security challenges across the OSCE region.

Regrettably, as it has done over many years, Russia has stymied and undermined this work. Prior to its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia blocked the mandate renewals of the Border Observer Mission and the Special Monitoring Mission. Russia continues to show no interest in peace, and has caused untold harm to Ukrainian citizens. It is vital that civilians and civilian institutions in Ukraine are supported in dealing with the consequences of Russia’s aggression. We are grateful, therefore, for the Conflict Prevention Centre’s (CPC) role in coordinating the Support Programme for Ukraine.

Madam Chair, Russia’s aggressive tactics against other participating States extend beyond Ukraine. Georgia has been under hybrid attack from Russia since the 2008 war which saw 20% of Georgian territory effectively annexed. We remain staunchly committed to defending Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In Moldova, the UK is supporting the government and the Moldovan people as they pursue a bold reform agenda and safeguard their democracy from the increased interference from the Kremlin. I will also call a spade a spade, the burden lies with Russia to respect the territorial integrity of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, and rebuild the trust that underpins the OSCE.

Elsewhere, we welcome the progress between Armenia and Azerbaijan towards normalising relations on the basis of respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and urge both parties to seize the opportunity to reach a lasting peace agreement.

It is essential that across the CPC’s work, there is an emphasis on the participation of women and civil society. We welcome valuable initiatives such as the Scholarship for Peace and Security programme. As we know, the full, equal and meaningful participation of women leads to better, more sustainable outcomes for all.

Madam Chair, we agree with the very clear assessment in Ms Fearon’s report of how the chronic lack of financial sustainability is negatively impacting the work of the CPC. The continued non-agreement of the 2024 Unified Budget remains a hindrance to the effective running of this organisation, its institutions and its field presences. We urge those participating States who continue to obstruct agreement to look beyond a narrow, national focus. We must ensure that all OSCE structures and institutions have the funding they need to fulfil their mandates effectively.

On the topic of mandates, we congratulate the CiO for hosting the Annual Security Review Conference last week. We regret, however, that Russia arbitrarily blocked five meetings of the Forum for Security Cooperation during this trimester, which is a concerning development.

Ms Fearon, Kate, I would like to thank you, your team, and the field presences for your ongoing support to participating States facing conflict situations. We join you and others in calling for the immediate release of the three OSCE Special Monitoring Mission members who are detained in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Over the next year, we will face continued challenges. We must all renew our commitment to preventing conflict and sustaining peace. I thank you, Madam Chair.

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