Cablegate: Osce Permanent Council: Response to Incoming

DE RUEHC #2476/01 0091621
R 091619Z JAN 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Post is authorized to present the following statement at
the January 10 Special Permanent Council meeting in Vienna.

Begin text:

We are honored to welcome Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva to
the Permanent Council as the Chairman in Office for 2008.
The United States fully supports the objectives that you have
set out in your intervention. I can assure you that my
country will do everything it can to support you in reaching
these goals and strengthening the OSCE. These are
challenging times for the OSCE, but we see Finland as
uniquely suited to deal with them.

Your message that participating States need to focus more on
the implementation of existing commitments is especially
timely. All of our hard work over the years will be for
naught if we do not put those Ministerial and Permanent
Council decisions into practice. As Undersecretary Burns
noted in his intervention at the Madrid Ministerial, we are
especially concerned that fundamental human rights
commitments at the heart of this organization's identity and
purpose are being ignored or, in many cases, actively

Of particular importance are the commitments dealing with the
human dimension, especially on elections. We have said it
before and we will say it again ) OSCE election monitoring
must not be undermined in any way. Moreover, those
commitments that help ensure free and fair elections, such as
freedom of speech and the right to peaceful assembly, must
also be respected. For this reason, we support an active
discussion of such commitments during meetings of the Human
Dimension Committee, and in special events Finland will
organize during the course of the year.

Mr. Chairman, we encourage your active engagement to help
resolve the protracted conflicts. We applaud your imminent
trip to Moldova and believe that Terhi Hakala, the Head of
Mission in Georgia, will remain a visible symbol of your
active involvement in the Caucasus. We urge all parties
concerned to support an increase in the number of monitors
for South Ossetia as soon as possible and again call for a
monitoring post at Didi Gupta and international monitoring of
the Roki Tunnel to halt the illicit flow of armed groups,
weapons, and ammunition into the region.

Your Chairmanship will face some immediate challenges.

The OSCE will have to deal with the impact of Russia's
decision to cease implementation of its obligations under the
CFE Treaty. Russia has said it will no longer accept
inspections; it did not participate in the Annual Exchange of
Information on December 14 in Vienna. The U.S. and its NATO
Allies have engaged intensively for the last several months
in a serious dialogue with Russia to address the issues it
has raised while taking account of the concerns of all 30
States Parties to the CFE Treaty, including issues relating
to Russia,s commitments on Moldova and Georgia. Actions by
NATO countries have been scrupulously consistent with the
letter and the spirit of the Treaty. By contrast, Russia,s
unilateral actions have the potential of undermining the
viability of the CFE regime. We hope that Russia will
reverse its decision on "suspension" and resume
implementation of its Treaty obligations.

I fear that all too soon in your Chairmanship we may also
have to come to grips with challenges to a continued OSCE
role in Kosovo. Over the past eight years, the OSCE Mission
in Kosovo has played an essential role in supporting peace
and democracy. The United States particularly values the
work the mission is doing to monitor and report on the
welfare and security of Kosovo's minority populations and to
promote ethnic reconciliation. OMiK's work, however, remains
unfinished. We regret that two participating States last
month insisted on a month-to-month renewal of the Mission
mandate rather than joining consensus to renew the mandate
for the full year, and that they have threatened its closure
in the event Kosovo declares independence. Such
short-sightedness could impair the Mission's effectiveness
and its ability to retain qualified staff. We hope the Chair
can convince all participating States of the need for the
OSCE to remain engaged in Kosovo regardless of how the status
process is resolved. If OMiK is forced to close its doors in
Kosovo, we urge all efforts be made to ensure a proper
closeout period that allows a successor organization to take
on OMiK's key Ahtisaari-related functions, as well as

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allowing OMiK's valued staff to transition to new employment

Mr. Minister, the United States will also look to you, as
Chairman in Office, to move our Organization forward toward
new horizons. We consider the decision made at Madrid,
tasking the Secretary General to examine the potential of
greater OSCE engagement with Afghanistan, as one of the most
important of that Ministerial. It addresses an issue which
has a direct impact on security throughout the OSCE region.
We look forward to receiving the Secretary General's
assessments for border work by the OSCE involving
Afghanistan, and will support you, Mr. Chairman, in your
efforts to make this a reality.

The Organization,s work in Central Asia, especially in the
area of policing, counternarcotics, customs reform, and
border security, is critical to improving the daily lives of
Central Asians and the security of the Europe. We look
forward to your leadership in strengthening the
Organization,s work in this critical region across all three
dimensions and will support your efforts to do so.

Finally, the United States regrets that, despite the hard
work of the Finnish Chair of the Advisory Committee on
Management and Finance, the OSCE has not yet approved its
budget for 2008. We look forward to working with the Finnish
Chairmanship to bring the budget discussion to a quick and
successful conclusion that appropriately reflects the
relative importance of the Secretariat, the Institutions and
the Field Missions.

This is an ambitious and sometimes contentious agenda. We
wish you and your mission here the best of luck. Please be
assured of the full support of the United States as you move

Thank you.

End Text.

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