Republic of Serbia takes over Chairmanship of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation

Opening remarks by H.E. Mr. Ivica Dačić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia on the occasion of the first session of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation held today under Serbia’s Chairmanship:

“Madam Chairperson,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am greatly honoured to be back to Vienna again today to welcome you to the first meeting of the Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) under Serbian Chairmanship. I would like to greet you and present to you the program of work for the last trimester of the year. Opening this important event and sitting again in this room brings back good memories of the successful Serbian Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2015. I am deeply convinced that the commitment of Serbia, as expressed during the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office in 2015, will be realized with the same efforts during the three-month Chairmanship of this Forum.

I would like to begin by expressing my profound gratitude to Romania and the Russian Federation for their outstanding Chairmanships of the FSC earlier this year. Although they have set very high standards for the incoming Chairs, we are committed to meeting them in close cooperation and interaction with the participating States. Let me also welcome Slovakia as the new member of the FSC Troika.

We will be very pleased to be working with you all in the months leading up to the Ministerial Council in Vienna in December.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The overall security situation in Europe remains fragile with multiple challenges stemming, inter alia, from increased radicalization and terrorist activity, as demonstrated by the frequent terrorist attacks in Europe in the previous period, followed by large movements of migrants and refugees, misuse of information and communications technologies, illicit trafficking in drugs, arms and human beings – to name just a few. While the OSCE family is still searching for the best response to those challenges, it is clear that they can be successfully tackled only through joint efforts of the participating States in order to implement a serious, thorough and comprehensive dialogue on all security issues. Unfortunately, despite the urgent need for unity and the common engagement, we are witnessing rising tensions and a lack of trust.

The crisis in and around Ukraine is unfortunately still going on despite all our efforts. For the fourth consecutive year the civilians continue to suffer. It is our strong belief that the parties should fully and unconditionally end all hostilities and implement the provisions of the Minsk Agreements. Full respect of the OSCE principles and commitments and international law remains a way forward, together with the more constructive engagement by the parties in the Trilateral Contact Group. These are necessary prerequisites for long-awaited progress on the political, security, humanitarian and economic issues. This time again, we reiterate our firm support to the work of the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, which is the most visible element of the OSCE response to the crisis.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Arms control and confidence- and security-building measures remain vital for security in our region. The Forum, with its specific mandate and responsibilities, is well placed to make a significant contribution in this field.

Technological changes, new risks and challenges, make us aware of the need to revitalize relevant OSCE documents. Meanwhile, their consistent implementation remains essential. The lack of consensus on the way forward should not prevent objective, impartial and comprehensive dialogue in order to maintain military stability, predictability and transparency, including by updating and modernizing the Vienna Document, strengthening and implementing the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, as well as OSCE documents on Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to emphasize in particular that the Structured Dialogue has already proven to be a useful tool for productive multilateral discussion on enhanced security. Furthermore, we believe that it can assist the OSCE participating States to produce a conceptual framework for enhanced multilateral security. We hope that the participating States will embrace the Structured Dialogue as a method of de-escalation of tensions and confidence building per se, which could bring about a real and measurable contribution to the security of the OSCE area. The Structured Dialogue will be on the agenda at the special joint FSC-PC session, and as Chairperson we will continue the efforts of the former Chairpersons of the Forum to promote the Structured Dialogue in close cooperation with the Austrian Chairmanship.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The FSC continues to present valuable opportunities for dialogue and discussion on the most pressing security issues and on our political and military commitments. Being fully aware of the security risks and challenges in the OSCE region, Serbia is aiming at active and meaningful Chairmanship. To that end, we will do our best to provide opportunities for strengthening the focus on politico-military security by ensuring a forum for negotiations and consultations on military security and stability in the OSCE area. In this context, we propose to hold a set of Security Dialogues to promote the awareness and exchange of ideas and experiences in different areas of our work.

I would now like to present to you our program of work until the end of the year, creating the balanced and positive agenda as our predecessors did.

Continuing to promote the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security through increasing the representation of women in the armed forces, as well as in multinational peace missions in which Serbia is participating, is a priority for Serbia. One Security Dialogue session under our Chairmanship will be devoted to this issue, with a particular focus on the role of the defence sector in the implementation of UNSCR 1325.

Small arms and light weapons and stockpiles of conventional ammunition and in particular their misuse continue to pose a serious threat to security throughout the OSCE area. Promoting the regional approach, we will devote one Security Dialogue to the regional efforts in combating the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons in South Eastern Europe.

Continuing the regional perspective, one session of the Security Dialogue will be used to discuss sub-regional arms control agreements and in particular the implementation of the Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control, Article IV, Annex 1-B, Dayton Peace Accords, as an example of successful regional agreement in resolving many issues after the end of the conflict, which the parties have fully implemented.

Since the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security remains a key normative instrument governing the armed forces in democratic societies, we will dedicate one Security Dialogue session to the Code of Conduct and the role of parliaments in the democratic control of armed and security forces.

Recalling the Hamburg Declaration which encourages continued discussions on SALW and SCA projects as well as holding periodic conferences to assess the implementation of ongoing OSCE projects in that field, it is my honour to announce a Meeting to review the implementation of OSCE assistance projects in the field of Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition on 3-4 October.

Arms control and confidence- and security-building measures have proven their relevance for establishing trust, transparency, military predictability and stability in Europe. Therefore, one session of the Security Dialogue will be devoted to the practical aspects of the Conventional Arms Control and CSBMs.

Joining the efforts with the Austrian Chairmanship-in-Office and recognizing the importance of the migration crisis for security in Europe, we will discuss the support of the security forces to the national authorities in the migration crisis at the joint session of the Forum and the Permanent Council.

Moreover, in close co-operation with our fellow Troika members, the FSC Support Section and Austrian Chairmanship-in-Office, we will work on, and support a number of events during our mandate.

I assure you that we will do our utmost to submit to the Ministerial Council documents that meet the common interest of participating States and enhance the input of the FSC to the OSCE as a whole. By doing so, we hope to increase our contribution to the collective security in Europe.

Distinguished participants,

Before I conclude, let me use this opportunity to announce the continuation of the work of the FSC co-ordinators, whose standing support and contribution to the work of the Chairmanship deserves to be constantly recognized.

–  Ms. Tiphaine Jouffroy, chef de file for the preparation of the Forum’s contribution to the 2017 Annual Security Review Conference;
–  Ms. Isa Ghivarelli, Co-ordinator on Matters Relating to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325;
–  Colonel Hans Georg Lüber, Co-ordinator for the Vienna Document;
–  Colonel László Szatmári, Co-ordinator for Projects on Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition;
–  Colonel Ville Pouttu, Chairperson of the Informal Group of Friends on Small Arms and Light Weapons;
–  Mr. Vasily Pavlov, FSC Co-ordinator on Non-Proliferation Issues;
–  Lieutenant Commander Vučić Bošković, Co-ordinator for the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security.

We are grateful for their continued availability, as well as to Ambassador Peško and his able team in the Conflict Prevention Centre, in particular the FSC Support Section for their unselfish support. Our special thanks go to the Conference Services, interpreters, and all others who are working hard to help our Chairmanship run smoothly.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to emphasize our determination to conduct the FSC Chairmanship in the spirit of inclusiveness, transparency and cooperation. We are open to co-operation with all interested delegations, in particular with the Austrian Chairmanship-in-Office and the FSC Troika. Let me thank once again Romania as the outgoing member of the FSC Troika for their valuable contribution.

I hope that you share my belief that we will have a trimester full of interesting, intensive and fruitful work ahead of us in order to further reinforce the significance of this Forum and intensify cooperation on all important security issues for all of us. As it has been said before, Serbia will endeavour to make its FSC Chairmanship at least as successful as its OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office was two years ago. We are looking forward to working with you in the coming months and I count on the strong support of all of you.

I thank you for your attention.”