Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs called on the OSCE to boost efforts to stop Russian aggression against Ukraine
At the informal ministerial meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe that opened in the Austrian town of Mauerbach on 11 July 2017 Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Neris Germanas, drew attention to the deadlock in the negotiations on the Russian aggression against Ukraine and called on the OSCE to continue prioritising them in the OSCE agenda.
“We have already entered the fourth year of the bloody conflict caused by the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. We must admit there is still no essential breakthrough in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Artillery fire by Russian-supported separatists, Russian weaponry and armed forces deployed in Donbas, and attacks against the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission are no background for ensuring ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine, which is an obstacle in implementing political provisions of the Minsk Agreements. That is why we must boost efforts of the international community and continue looking for a peaceful conflict resolution that would rest on respect for OSCE principles and commitments,” the head of the Lithuanian delegation said.
Vice-Minister Neris Germanas also underlined the necessity not to lose focus on other on-going conflicts in the OSCE area and on bridging differences in the Organisation so that its commitments and principles are met. The head of the Lithuanian delegation also noted the significance of a structural dialogue in OSCE activities and emphasised that the dialogue should cover all urgent issues and, first and foremost, focus on the execution of the existing agreements.
Having gathered in Austria, the OSCE ministers of foreign affairs are addressing challenges crucial for European security, with most of their attention on Russia’s on-going aggression against Ukraine, frozen conflicts in the OSCE area, and the situation of human rights. There will be debates on strengthening the OSCE security architecture and response to international threats such as cyber threats, extremism, radicalisation, etc.
An agreement was reached on the appointment of four OSCE top officials: Switzerland's representative Thomas Greminger will be the next Secretary General of the OSCE, Ingibjörg Gísladóttir from Iceland will head the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR); the French delegate Harlem Désir will become Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFOM); and the Italian representative Lamberto Zannier will become High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM).
The OSCE is a regional organisation uniting 57 countries in Europe, North America and Central Asia. The OSCE Chairmanship is held by Austria this year.
At the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2017 of OSCE participating states in Warsaw on 21 September, Lithuania together with its international partners convened a meeting, entitled ‘LGBTI persons outside the Law in Chechnya (Russia). What should be the international community’s reaction?’ The side event focused on recent hate crimes committed against LGBTI persons in Chechnya.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Linas Linkevičius, opened the international conference “Safety of Journalists – New Challenges and Responses” in Vilnius on 3 July 2017 where the current situation of the safety of journalists in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) region, the most urgent challenges in journalists’ activities and possible international responses were discussed.