Remarks by HE Ivica Dacic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia at the Informal OSCE Ministerial Council held in Mauerbach, 11 July 2017:
“Distinguished Chairperson-in-Office Minister Kurz,
Let me begin by thanking the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office for organizing this timely meeting on such a relevant topic at this wonderful venue which will, I hope, stimulate open and frank discussions today. Our exchanges, if constructive, could contribute to the return of respect and confidence among us. Serbia remains firmly committed to work with other participating States to ensure peace and stability in the OSCE area.
The magnitude of challenges for our countries and the OSCE demand our joint and coordinated efforts. Despite the urgent need for unity and common engagement, regrettably we are witnessing rising mistrust and a lack of dialogue among participating States.
The crisis in and around Ukraine is unfortunately still going on in spite of all our efforts. For the fourth consecutive year civilians continue to suffer, which is unacceptable. At the same time, we are deeply concerned about continuous impediments to the freedom of movement, frequent intimidation and attacks on the monitors and property of the OSCE, which resulted inter alia in the tragic death of the SMM paramedic on 23 April. All sides are called upon to fully and unconditionally respect the cease-fire, end all hostilities and implement the provisions of the Minsk Agreements, including a verifiable and lasting withdrawal of heavy weapons.
Serbia continues to support the work of the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine which is the most visible element of the OSCE response to this crisis, as well as all other constructive efforts dedicated to finding a peaceful resolution of the crisis in full respect of OSCE principles.
Terrorist methods, as we are witnessing, are getting less sophisticated, but more lethal and more difficult to prevent. Fighting terrorism, including resolute and unconditional condemnation of the acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, remains at the top of our agenda. The communication campaign United in Countering Violent Extremism, launched during our chairmanship in 2015 continues to send a strong message against radicalization, intolerance and extremism. Serbia strongly supports the OSCE counter terrorism efforts, including the priority of the Austrian Chairmanship to engage and empower the youth in countering VERLT.
Alongside with combating terrorism and VERLT, we all need to work together against rising racism and xenophobia. Suppressing the terrorism and extremism cannot be used as pretext for spreading fears and hatred against migrants and all minority groups in our societies.
The phenomenon of migration, on the other hand, should be considered in its entirety and must remain to be a priority. We believe that the OSCE should take a comprehensive approach, searching for a holistic response to this extremely serious challenge. Serbia on its part continues to provide the migrants with necessary assistance.
On cyber security, we remain committed to the ultimate goal – peaceful and secure cyberspace for all. In that regard, Serbia supports the implementation of the agreed confidence building measures. We are ready to continue our work on the development of the next set of measures. Their adoption would further confirm the OSCE’s important role in this area.
Serbia fully supports the structured dialogue in line with the Hamburg Ministerial Declaration. Discussions on the well-chosen topics held this spring were constructive and have indicated both convergences and divergences among the participating States which need to be further explored. Our deliberations should continue through a transparent and inclusive process which should be owned and driven by participating States, without artificial deadlines or a predetermined outcome. As FSC Chair in the last trimester of the year, Serbia looks forward to cooperation on this important issue.
Allow me to seize this opportunity to reiterate Serbia’s strategic orientation towards European integration, as well as for dialogue, peace and reconciliation which should contribute to regional stability. We all have to look towards the future and overall prosperity, in particular for youth, and a more comprehensive and fruitful cooperation on our joint European path.
Let me also underline our commitment towards the EU-led dialogue with Priština and to the implementation of all agreements reached so far, in particular on the long awaited establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities. We believe that an open and honest dialogue is the only way to improve the everyday lives of the people living in Kosovo and Metohija.
As said before, lack of trust is seriously impeding the functioning of our Organization. Let me conclude by expressing our conviction that, regardless of all our differences, the orderly functioning of the OSCE, including the appointment of the Secretary General and the heads of institutions, should be our common priority. In this regard, let’s try to show the responsibility and overcome our differences.
I thank you for your attention.”