Speech by Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the 20th OSCE Ministerial Council in Kyiv

05.12.2013 - Speech

-- translation of advance text --

Secretary General,
I would like to thank our Ukrainian hosts for inviting us to Kyiv and for the work they have carried out during their Chairmanship of the OSCE!

At the last OSCE summit in Astana we committed ourselves to the goal of a security community stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok based on peace, freedom and prosperity.

A security community in which the US, the countries of Europe, their neighbours to the east, Russia and the countries of Central Asia could all find their place. A security community in which each country could choose their own path without feeling pressured or coerced.

The atmosphere of threats and exercise of economic pressure that we have witnessed in this year are quite simply unacceptable.

The people in Ukraine want to be able to decide on their future themselves. In the OSCE, we guarantee them the right to openly express their opinion in this regard.

I am greatly concerned by the latest events, particularly the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators in Kyiv last Saturday. Ukraine currently holds the OSCE Chairmanship and is thus obliged to protect peaceful demonstrators from any form of intimidation and violence. The reaction to the pro-European demonstrations will be indicative of the extent to which the Ukraine Chairmanship is committed to the common values anchored in the OSCE.

The Euro-Atlantic Security Community has not yet come into existence. In 2015, we should use the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act as a chance to give a fresh impetus to the OSCE. Even in recent years, we have not exploited the OSCE’s potential enough.

This applies to solving the three territorial conflicts. We need to refocus our efforts once again on finding solutions in Georgia, as well as to the Nagorno-Karabakh and Transdniestrian conflicts.

We need further progress in the fields of arms control and confidence- and security-building measures.

It is a good sign that we have agreed on an initial set of confidence-building measures in order to reduce the risks posed by new information and communications technologies. This is the first agreement of its kind in the world.

The OSCE is thus adopting a pioneering role in the field of cyber security. With all due respect to justified security interests, privacy protection must be given high priority. When state actors spy in the internet age it is a serious violation of the right of individual privacy. This is unacceptable.

The New York resolution on privacy protection, jointly initiated by Germany and Brazil, also serves as an important basis for the OSCE, particularly within the framework of its activities relating to the human dimension. Since the Ministerial Councils in Vilnius and Dublin, no further progress has been made in the human dimension. It is up to us here in Kyiv to use this opportunity to provide fresh impetus.

Germany will continue to work resolutely to strengthen the OSCE. I wish Switzerland and Serbia all the best in planning their 2014/2015 Chairmanships.

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