As the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) prepares for its ministerial meeting on December 4th, in Helsinki, the ministers face critical challenges.
"Some participating states are questioning the commitments at the core of the Helsinki Final Act," said U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE Julie Finley. "One participating State has invaded another, and has unilaterally recognized 2 breakaway regions in an attempt to change the internationally-accepted borders of an OSCE participating state through the use of force. How this is handled will be a major test for the OSCE as a crisis management organization," she said.
Ambassador Finley said the position of the U.S. is clear. "The United States will not make any compromises on the principle of Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity" and calls on the OSCE chairmanship "to consider carefully options for action when consensus is blocked by a single participating State."
Ambassador Finley also noted that a range of priorities needs to be addressed at the Helsinki ministerial. Among these are human rights and failure by many OSCE participating states to live up to their commitments. "We could rightly focus on steps to address regional conflicts and the need for a return to full implementation of the Conventional Forces In Europe (CFE) Treaty by all 30 States parties, including Russia," she said. "And we ought to reaffirm our support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders."
The U.S. would welcome a political declaration that forcefully addresses these core issues. If that cannot be agreed on, the U.S. would welcome a serious, candid discussion of these issues. "We cannot simply paper over issues of such high significance," said Ambassador Finley. "Real progress needs to be recorded," she said, "But real differences cannot be ignored."