Thank you Madam President,
I warmly welcome His Excellency, Mr. Audronius Azubalis, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, and congratulate him on his assumption of the Chairmanship-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Let me assure you, Mr. Minister, that Portugal fully supports your efforts to promote the OSCE agenda, as well as Lithuania’s endeavours to ensure that all three dimensions of the organization’s activities are taken forward in a balanced manner.
I also thank you, Mr. Minister, for today’s very comprehensive briefing, outlining Lithuania’s priorities for the OSCE in 2011. Portugal feels encouraged by the follow-up process to the Astana Declaration, which will build on the productive discussions that came out of the Corfu Process for a European security dialogue in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian regions.
The Astana Final Declaration unequivocally reaffirms all dimensions of the OSCE acquis and includes clear tasks aimed to further strengthening and defending OSCE’s legacy of a comprehensive, cooperative and indivisible concept of security, namely by starting to work on an Action Plan.
Portugal warmly welcomes the OSCE’s Chairmanship’s intention to focus on concrete action, addressing regional issues, early warning and conflict prevention, arms control and confidence security building measures as well as the economic and human dimensions.
In this regard I would like to emphasize the importance Portugal attaches to the promotion of close cooperation between the OSCE and other international organizations. We attach a special importance to the added value that the UN and OSCE can bring to each other’s work in several regions. For example, the close cooperation between the OSCE and the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia is vital to defuse tension in that complex region and deserves all our support.
Allow me to refer to some of the main issues on the Chairmanship’s programme. All of them are relevant for the future cooperation between the OSCE and the UN.
Concerning the Human Dimension, a crucial component of the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security: we welcome the clear reiteration of fundamental commitments concerning the protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law, and the emphasis on their better implementation – this is a goal to which we attach great importance and are glad to see at the top of this year’s OSCE’s priorities.
Secondly, we welcome the Lithuanian Presidency’s support for further work to solve the impasse in the field of conventional arms control in Europe and its commitment to move forward with the improvement of the OSCE’s important confidence and security-building regime.
Thirdly, we are well aware of the threat to security that protracted, unresolved conflicts in the OSCE space continue to present; in fact, these conflicts continue to challenge the OSCE’s objective of a stable, peaceful and prosperous Eurasian space; this is an area where UN-OSCE cooperation is both useful and indispensable, as their joint participation in the Geneva Talks has made clear.
Fourthly, the fight against transnational threats, such as terrorism, trafficking in persons and drugs, as well as the welcome boost to OSCE’s profile in cyber security – all are areas where there has been a fair amount of consensus. As threats evolve, so should the tools at our disposal to address them; again, in this context, the interaction between UNODC and OSCE holds enormous potential: the jointly organized July 2010 conference on international criminal cooperation in Central Asia and Afghanistan is a case in point;
Fifthly, non-proliferation, in connection with the implementation of Resolution 1540, regarding which we can also explore forms of cooperation between the UN and OSCE;
May I also underline the concrete, focused contributions of the European Union to the OSCE’s work in all of these areas, both conceptually and on an operational level, always based on a solid support to the idea of comprehensive security. In this sense, we are especially pleased to see that in the two years to come, the organization will have as chairs two EU Member States: Lithuania and Ireland.
Finally, Madam President,
I would like to reaffirm Portugal’s confidence in Lithuania’s leadership and we will continue to support her in dealing with old and new challenges as Chair of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as in strengthening the cooperation relations between the OSCE and the UN.
I thank you.