Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Testimony :: His Excellency Mircea Dan Geoana
Chairman in Office - OSCE

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PREPARED STATEMENT

I would like to start with a very brief summary of Romania's objectives for our Chairmanship-in-Office, what we believe have been the most pressing issues during the year so far and what we hope to have achieved by the end of the year.

When we took over the Chairmanship, we wanted to ensure that all OSCE Participating States should continue to believe that the OSCE was addressing issues of concern to them and their citizens in a practical and action-oriented way.

Our objectives were:
· that the OSCE should remain relevant and useful as an instrument for crisis management, conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation;
· that it should remain a key body for promoting the rule of law and human rights;
· but that it should also strengthen its activity in other areas such as the economic and environmental dimension;
· and that it should be prepared to cope with new security challenges such as organised crime and corruption, international terrorism and extremism.

We were also concerned that the OSCE should pay more attention to regions which had been less in the international spotlight, such as the Caucasus and Central Asia.
I would mention four specific issues which have taken much of our attention this year: Macedonia, Kosovo, corruption and organised crime, and terrorism.

Macedonia

The situation in Macedonia has given us a clear lesson that conflict can still erupt unexpectedly. The situation has stabilised for now thanks to the concerted and intense efforts of the US, the EU, NATO and the OSCE. The NATO operation to disarm and disband the ethnic Albanian groups was a clear success. But there were worrying signs that some groups were trying to delay the Parliamentary process which would have thrown the whole peace agreement in jeopardy. As CIO, I joined NATO Secretary General Robertson, EU High Representative Solana and Special Envoy Pardew in making clear to political leaders in Macedonia that they must respect the spirit of the Ohrid Agreement. Artificial delaying tactics will not be acceptable to the international community. The Albanian parties have returned to Parliament, the President has agreed that the amnesty declaration needs to be clarified, and there is every sign that the Constitutional amendments will be approved by the end of the month.

But the really hard work is still ahead: rebuilding confidence within the population. The OSCE's role in this is critical. The Government's decision to send Macedonian security forces back into areas affected by the conflict without first consulting the international community was unwise and counter-productive. Fortunately, no violent incidents took place and the Government agreed that security forces would not be deployed in sensitive areas until OSCE monitors were in the field. We have taken the necessary decisions to put 120 monitors in the field, including police observers, and have begun a pilot programme in 5 villages near Kumanovo. We are working closely with the US on training for a multi-ethnic police force which is an essential element in the confidence-building process.



Kosovo

The 17 November elections for self-governing institutions in Kosovo are the most important event of the year. These elections must be inclusive if we want to see viable and sustainable institutions in a multiethnic Kosovo.
The OSCE has played an important role in organizing and supporting the voter registration process. More than 170.000 Serbs have registered on the electoral lists and a representative number of Serb political parties have registered as candidates. Our main priority now is to ensure that on the day the Kosovo Serbs actually exercise their vote. We have pressed the authorities in Belgrade to encourage a strong turn-out. For our part, we are working with UNMIK and KFOR on the security concerns raised by Kosovo Serbs and Belgrade so that refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) feel they can return safely to their homes.

Among our many activities in Kosovo, it is worth highlighting the work of the Kosovo Police Service School which is training local police officers and trainers. The first Kosovo Police trainers of the KPSS graduated on 1 August and are now training police cadets. The School aims to provide police training in line with democratic standards for at least 4000 locally recruited officers, including members of minority communities and women.

The long-term future and stability of Kosovo and all those who live there is still far from certain. We must strive for a working relationship between Belgrade and Pristina. The international community must keep making this point both to the Albanian leaders in Kosovo and to the authorities in Belgrade.

Corruption and Organised Crime

The Romanian Chairmanship has consistently emphasized that corruption is a serious threat to OSCE values. Corruption and illegal activity like money laundering, trafficking and organised crime endanger not only economic growth and sound development, but also our security. And we must pay particular attention to the links between organised crime and terrorist groups, particularly on the financing side.

The OSCE Economic Forum in May focussed on Transparency and Good Governance. OSCE can play an important part in stimulating the political will to develop and implement the necessary legislation. Promoting regional co-operation, strengthening civil society and increasing civil participation in the governmental decision-making process can contribute to good governance.

Let me mention some concrete examples of on-going projects in this field.

The OSCE Presence in Albania, along with the World Bank and the European Commission, continues to provide direct advice and strategic planning on anti-corruption issues.
The OSCE Office in Armenia is coordinating the International Anti-corruption Joint Task Force. Together with other OSCE missions in the Caucasus, they have built up a network of NGOs.

US support and financial contributions to OSCE anti-corruption activities have been enormously valuable. We are grateful for US continued support for such important projects.

Concrete action could include:
· Promoting the adoption and implementation of international legal instruments; developing codes of conduct (an Economic Forum recommendation);
· Holding periodic consultations with partner institutions and organisations (such as the tripartite meeting on good governance, last February, with the Council of Europe and the UN);
· Involving OSCE Field Missions in the Council of Europe's GRECO evaluations, under the Stability Pact anticorruption initiative.
· Cooperating with the SECI Regional Centre on Combating Cross-Border Crime. Romania has encouraged the SECI Centre to make contact with Central Asian law enforcement authorities who are interested in the SECI experience and in cooperating in SECI activities against organised crime.

In the fight against organized crime, we have focused on the illegal trafficking of human beings. The Romanian Chairmanship organised a regional Conference in May this year on Illegal Trafficking which was attended by the Director of the FBI and other senior Government and law enforcement representatives from South East Europe and European Union countries. The agreed conclusions of that meeting set out priorities for national, regional and internationally coordinated action to eliminate human trafficking, including a role for the OSCE.

The OSCE has taken its responsibilities seriously. The OSCE/ODIHR is chairing the Stability Pact Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings and has initiated a number of projects in the field, for example in Kosovo, Armenia and Albania. Our field missions work alongside the IOM in developing public awareness campaigns and are active in advising governments on anti-trafficking legislation.

Terrorism

The 11 September attacks against the United States brought home more than any other single act of terrorism the dangers from international terrorism to freedom, humanity and the security of the individual, values which the OSCE is committed to defend and uphold. The OSCE condemned rigorously the 11 September attacks. We have fully supported the creation of a strong and broad international coalition against terrorism and the targeted strikes launched by the United States and United Kingdom against Al Qaeda terrorist training camps and Taliban military installations in Afghanistan.

But, along with other international organisations, we have also begun to consider what specific contribution the OSCE can make in the international fight against terrorism.

In my address to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on 20 September, I mentioned three areas where I believe the OSCE can bring added value:
· Making use of our political will and solidarity in committing to joint action, with a strong Declaration on combating terrorism to be adopted at the Bucharest OSCE Ministerial;
· Focussing our attention on addressing root causes, such as economic and social marginalisation which can be fertile ground for extremist ideologies, and fighting the "grey zones" of organised crime, including trafficking in people and arms;
· Acting as a bridge between regional initiatives in order to set common priorities.

Co-operation between OSCE states can only be truly effective if all States strengthen or introduce anti-terrorism legislation, including European-wide powers of arrest and extradition of suspects. A common legal framework is essential for the exchange of information and expertise between law enforcement agencies. The appointment of an OSCE Police Adviser, which is supported by most OSCE States, would be the first step in promoting this kind of active cooperation.

The Bishkek Conference on Terrorism, Drug Trafficking and Organised Crime in December provides a good opportunity for us to review the state of play on signature and ratification of the various UN Conventions on Terrorism and to strengthen police and judicial systems in the democratic context. Our hope is that the Central Asians can draw on the experience of other countries in counter-terrorism.

We have now set up a Task Force in Vienna to look at concrete steps the Participating States should take to co-ordinate our efforts to combat terrorism with the aim of developing an OSCE-wide Action Plan against terrorism for adoption at the Bucharest Ministerial in December.

Human Rights

The protection of human rights has been a core activity for the OSCE since its inception in Helsinki in 1975. The Romanian Chairmanship believes that this should remain so. Respect for such basic rights as freedom of expression, freedom of religious belief, freedom to vote and the equal treatment of minorities, including the Roma, are fundamental for security. We have spent many years and vast resources on crisis management and rebuilding societies after conflict. It might be going too far to say that if these basic rights had been respected fully, we would not have witnessed the vicious conflicts of the past ten years. But I am convinced that the results would not have been so catastrophic or have required such massive international intervention if free and democratic systems had been in place.

Cooperation with International Organisations

Governing all our activity has been the principle of working in close synergy with other international organisations: namely, the UN, NATO, the European Union, the Council of Europe, as well as other more specialised agencies such as the UN High Commission for Refugees and the International Organisation for Migration.

Future Direction

The Romanian Chairmanship's priorities for the OSCE Bucharest Ministerial are to set the agenda for the next few years in certain areas. We are aiming for the following results:

· Strong declarations on Terrorism and on Illegal Trafficking
· Appointment of an OSCE Police Adviser
· Adoption of an OSCE Action Plan on Roma/Sinti issues
· Strengthened commitments to assist with quality refugee return
· Substantive declaration on South East Europe
· Agreement on Institutional Strengthening, including legal capacity for the OSCE

I believe that if we want to build sustainable democracy in South East Europe, it is time to look for a strategy for the region as a whole. The time for ad hoc localised solutions is past. The syndrome of dependency on the major powers cannot continue indefinitely. The countries of the region must start to exercise responsibility themselves by looking to their own resources and by developing healthy regional cooperation systems. This is not an overnight process and the international community must remain engaged. But we should be pushing now for more effective self-governance in line with OSCE standards.
I have highlighted only the most pressing issues but am happy to offer more information on other areas of activity.