Briefing pronunciato dal Ministro degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale e Presidente in Esercizio dell’OSCE, On. Angelino Alfano, al meeting in Consiglio di Sicurezza sulle priorita’ della Presidenza Italiana dell’OSCE —
Dear Members of the Security Council,
I am honored to address the Council on the priorities of the Italian Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
I especially want to thank the Dutch Presidency for this opportunity. This briefing is another example of the great spirit of cooperation between Italy and the Netherlands during our split-term in the Security Council.
Today, I am here because I strongly believe that the OSCE is crucial for our regional security. And for many reasons:
First, the OSCE is among the most inclusive regional multilateral platforms in the world. Its geographical diversity stretches from Vancouver to Vladivostok.
Second, all OSCE States have equal participatory rights. Each voice is as important as the next.
Third, the absence of a rigid legal structure allows the OSCE to respond quickly and flexibly to breaking political events.
Fourth, consensus is a “strength” in the OSCE. The search for a common denominator has reinforced the sense of an “OSCE community” and facilitates the implementation of our actions.
Given all the security risks we face in Europe, a forum like the OSCE dedicated to security and cooperation is of great value to us. Because even when dialogue is not conclusive, when it does not bring about a solution, it still continues to build trust between the parties. Trust is fundamental to defuse or resolve crises: over time trust brings results. And, in the OSCE, trust is an important element because discussions are inspired by the principles of equality and neutrality.
We are constantly reminded that security is a “global public good”. No nation has ever been secure in isolation, for as long as we can trace back in history. We all share responsibility for each other’s security. For this reason, I firmly believe in the principle of comprehensive security that guides the OSCE; its ability to work in partnership with other security structures, such as NATO, the European Union and the United Nations, and its members’ determination in working towards a confidence and security building agenda.
The motto of our OSCE Chairmanship is “Dialogue, Ownership, Responsibility”. We strongly believe that these are the key ingredients for further strengthening multilateralism in an Organization that reaches out to over one billion people. Multilateralism is a defining factor of Italy’s foreign policy. Our support to the OSCE is inspired by effective multilateralism. And the OSCE has proved this effectiveness in many ways.
A good example is the “Structured Dialogue on the current and future challenges and risks to security in the OSCE area”. It’s an informal format where we can have a frank, inclusive and substantive dialogue on complex security issues.
Our motto – “Dialogue, Ownership, Responsibility” – has a specific meaning. We want to follow an approach: 1) that looks equally at the Euro-Mediterranean, the Euro-Atlantic and the Euro-Asian regions and their connections; 2) that is open, transparent, and inclusive; 3) that is firm on principles, but flexible and creative on the ways to defend those principles more effectively.
These are extremely complex times. The crisis in and around Ukraine is testing the core values that we share. We have faced a crisis of mutual trust and confidence. And to rebuild trust there is only one way: more dialogue, more political will, more concrete actions on the ground.
That’s why my first mission as Chairman-in-Office was in Kiev, Moscow and Donbass. I wanted to send a strong and clear message: we expect new steps to be taken for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.
Among the positive results:
First of all, the success of the Special Monitoring Mission of the OSCE, which is a crucial instrument to avoid a dangerous escalation of the crisis despite difficult conditions. So, once again, allow me to underscore that we place the highest priority on the safety of the monitors, who must be able to carry out their work with the least possible risk.
Secondly, the acknowledgment – by both Ukraine and Russia – of the need for a UN Support Mission. We obviously follow the contacts under way to this end. Coordination with the OSCE is essential, given its extensive experience on the ground. It’s also important for the UN and the OSCE to complement each other in their different missions.
Beyond the Ukrainian crisis, we are focusing our full attention also on the so-called protracted conflicts.
With regard to Georgia, we support the Geneva International Discussions and are ready to promote dialogue through informal initiatives as well.
Concerning Nagorno-Karabakh, we continue to support the work of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs for a definitive and shared solution to the conflict.
In Transnistria, we would like to build on the positive momentum. My Special Representative for the Settlement Process is in contact with all the actors.
In the past, our “security divide” was mainly between East and West. Today, security concerns between East and West are still significant and the OSCE’s role is very relevant. However, we also need to look towards the South and the Mediterranean. As I’ve already stated before this Council, the Mediterranean is a small sea – almost the size of a large lake when seen on a globe – but where much of our global security is at stake. Therefore, it’s crucial to intensify dialogue and cooperation with the OSCE Partner countries of the southern shores of the Mediterranean.
Last year, in the framework of the OSCE, we organized the Mediterranean Conference of Palermo. As you know, the “Spirit of Helsinki”, more than forty years ago, inspired the rapprochement between East and West in the period of the Cold War. The “Spirit of Palermo”, today, nourishes and strengthens the dialogue for peace and security in the Mediterranean.
The “Spirit of Palermo” means the capacity to build a genuine partnership among the fifty-seven OSCE countries and the Mediterranean partners, rediscovering the core mission of the Organization as a plural and inclusive multilateral platform. This is the same approach that inspired our mandate in this Council, last year.
We are dedicating particular attention to transnational threats such as: terrorism; radicalization; illicit trafficking of arms, drugs, cultural goods, and hazardous waste; the links between terrorism and organized crime, international money laundering, and the sources of funding of terrorist groups. Fighting corruption is also central in our agenda, because corruption deeply affects the rule of law and undermines the relationship – built on trust – between Governments and their citizens.
Cyber security is another strategic priority. We are promoting initiatives to increase awareness of decision-makers and the private sector on how the internet can impact on peace and security. Last September – here at the UN – Italy, France, and the UK launched a new initiative putting together States and Internet Service Providers to respond to the misuse of the internet. We need to do much more to put terrorism “offline”.
During our OSCE Chairmanship, we also intend to keep a strong emphasis on growth, innovation, human capital, good governance and the transition to green energy, contributing to the implementation of Agenda twenty-thirty. An agenda that was defined by the United Nations – globally – and that is being implemented – regionally – also through the work of the OSCE. In fact, the OSCE has always fostered the view of comprehensive security, encompassing both sustainable development and human rights.
I also want to underscore the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Not just because today is International Women’s Day, but also because these issues have always been key priorities for Italy:
-as a member of this Council, we worked to mainstream gender-related issues throughout the UN system and especially in UN peace operations.
-again, here at the UN, we have emphasized the fundamental role of women in conflict prevention and resolution; also by establishing a Mediterranean Women Mediators Network.
-and in the OSCE, we are dedicating great attention to the implementation of the OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality.
Regarding the human dimension: this year is a special year, because it marks the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Defending and promoting human rights is an important precondition for long-lasting peace, security and sustainable development. If fundamental rights are protected through the legal system and in everyday life, the rule of law is affirmed and security is guaranteed. If there is no such protection, conflicts multiply and social and political instability easily arise.
In this regard, one of the priorities of our mandate in this Council was the fight against human trafficking. During our Presidency in November, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2388 in order to defend the rights and the dignity of refugees and migrants. Likewise, as Chairman of the OSCE, we are raising the attention of the Organization on this heinous and intolerable crime, with a specific focus on women, children and minors.
At the same time, we remain committed to defining frameworks for safe and regular migration, based on shared responsibility and international solidarity. It’s crucial to engage Countries of origin, transit and destination at “the same table”. That’s also why we favor the approach, led by the UN, in the negotiations for the Global Compacts for Migration and for Refugees.
The fight against all forms of intolerance and discrimination is another main priority for Italy. Therefore, it’s no coincidence that the first major event of our OSCE Chairmanship was the Rome Conference on fighting against anti-Semitism bringing together Jewish, Muslim and Christian political and religious leaders on this critical issue. And throughout this year, we want to devote greater attention to countering all forms of intolerance and discrimination. We cannot shy away from combating intolerance. Because history has already taught us too many tragic lessons in this regard.
We will only achieve security when we recognize that we are all part of the same human race. And that defending human dignity is the key to our liberty. In fact, this is a rooted value both in the United Nations and in the OSCE. And it’s what best defines the long-standing partnership between our two Organizations, in order to prevent conflicts and promote stability and cooperation.
Thank you for your attention.