UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
7 May 2013
Briefing by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office
Statement by H.E. Ms Philippa King
Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
of Australia to the United Nations
Thank you for convening this briefing. I would like to thank Foreign Minister Kozhara for his briefing and welcome him to the Council for the first time in his capacity as Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE.
As the world’s largest regional security organisation, the OSCE has much to offer this Council, particularly its expertise in arms control, counter-terrorism, conflict prevention and post-conflict resolution. As members of the Council are aware, close cooperation between the Council and regional organisations, including the OSCE, can be a decisive component of our efforts to maintain international peace and security. Certainly, one of Australia’s priorities during its Council term is to further encourage such cooperation, and the OSCE provides a good illustration of what is possible.
To point to one example, Australia acknowledges the OSCE’s strong contribution to the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), where it leads the important third pillar of democratisation and institution building. We join the OSCE in commending the leadership in both Belgrade and Pristina for the recent positive steps they have taken toward normalising their relationship.
Australia enjoys a strong partnership with the OSCE. As an Asia partner country of the OSCE since 2009, we work through the organisation to address security challenges that span across borders. Australia supports OSCE projects designed to enhance local, national and regional capacities to combat the effects of human trafficking and to help protect vulnerable groups in Central Asia, which we are pleased to hear is among the key issues for the OSCE under Ukraine’s Chairmanship.
In March, Australia was pleased to co-chair the 2013 OSCE Asian Partners Conference in Australia. Under the theme ‘Improving the Security of Women and Girls’, the conference brought together government and civil society to examine the successes and failings of international efforts in the fight against gender-based violence and human trafficking, as well as efforts to increase the economic empowerment of women. This reinforces the work of the Council on the women, peace and security agenda and the priority we attach to this work.
Australia also endorses the OSCE’s vision of comprehensive security that includes the integral role of human rights and economic and environmental issues, alongside the politico–military dimension. Protecting and empowering people is essential to shaping long-term and effective responses to multidimensional threats to security. This builds capacity, understanding and resilience amongst individuals and communities.
Australia congratulates the OSCE on its long-standing commitment to non-proliferation. We commend the OSCE’s leadership in preventing the spread of illicit small arms and light weapons between its members and beyond, to regions that face conflict and instability. This leadership contributed to the adoption of the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons in 2001.
The adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty by the General Assembly on 2 April is another significant development in this area. We appreciate the contribution of the OSCE membership to achieve a strong outcome. Effective implementation of the ATT will now be critical to prevent the illegal and irresponsible trade in arms and reduce further human suffering. We look to the OSCE once again to play a leading role in ensuring signature by its members on 3 June, and its effective implementation within the OSCE and in other regions that need implementation support.
I thank Mr Kozhara for his observations on Afghanistan. Along with other members of the Council and the international community, Australia is committed to Afghanistan’s long term, security, stability and prosperity which in turn benefits from the constructive engagement and support of its neighbours. Australia supports efforts to this end, including regional confidence-building measures through the Heart of Asia initiative.
We welcome the OSCE’s continued constructive contribution to international efforts to support Afghanistan’s security and stability.
Australia also shares with the OSCE and other members of this Council an abhorrence of terrorism and a determination to combat this threat wherever it occurs. The OSCE’s counter-terrorism work is impressive. Australia welcomes the organisation’s cooperation with UN agencies and has been pleased to support a number of OSCE counter terrorism projects and wishes to build on this partnership. We appreciate the global stand that the OSCE brings against terrorist ideologies and tactics.
In conclusion, Mr President, close engagement between the Council and regional organisations is an essential component of securing international peace and security and we encourage the Council to continue to look for opportunities to work closely with the OSCE in this endeavour.
Thank you, Mr President.