Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov causes deepening crisis of OSCE

Author : Serhiy Sydorenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

German presidency at OSCE was to revive the organization and restore its efficiency, but failed
20:45, 9 December 2016

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Evropeiska pravda

At least, head of OSCE, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hoped so, when a year ago he was the current chairman of the organization. Diplomats say: Steinmeier hoped that the authority of Germany will make its mission a success story.

And now we can say the opposite. OSCE Ministerial meeting, which ends on December 9 in Hamburg, Germany, was not a triumphal event. Instead, for the first time publicly talking about the threat of collapse.

Although most of the participants are trying to continue to talk about further collaboration in the framework of the OSCE Ministerial meeting best results demonstrate that the organization paralyzed.
And its effectiveness is difficult to say until the OSCE the principle of consensus, and one of the members is Russia.

The public part of the "ministeriales" is a large-scale event, pompous, but almost always too weighty. Ministers appear alternately, every three minutes, sometimes even making express the main ideas about what are the key issues the OSCE.

Related: Kuchma doubts in introducing OSCE's police mission in Donbas

The main thing is happening behind the scenes. First, there is a team of OSCE member states agree on the texts of formal decisions of the ministerial meeting.

Secondly, on the "ministeriales" sidelines each of the ministers holds bilateral talks, whose number exceeds two dozen times in two days. And only a small part of these meetings is truly decisive. That was, in particular, the meeting of foreign ministers of Germany and Russia, which has become the first public event of the international forum.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Lavrov met on Wednesday evening. In the protocol of the meeting called them journalists, but the Russian minister was clearly not configured to media attention. The meeting started without the usual diplomatic congratulations "for the cameras."

"We're not going to dance here," said Russian Minister.

Later German diplomatic sources explained that the closed part of the dialogue of ministers was also not very friendly. Diplomats said the "long and serious conversation" devoted mostly Ukrainian, the Syrian issue and the decision of the OSCE.

The next day, after a public speech Lavrov, it became clear how deep the disagreements between members of the organization.

The Russian minister accused other members of the OSCE persecution and said he would not agree to negotiate on the conditions of the West.

"If you want to invite a partner in dialogue, then do not start a dialogue with the charges against him and claims to dialogue solely on its own terms. Realize once and for all, can only equal dialogue" - appealed to people around the Russian minister, who spoke on one of the first meeting.

Related: OSCE Mission documented more than 500 explosions in Donetsk and Luhansk regions

Here Sergei Lavrov mentioned the possibility of the collapse of the OSCE if its members try to reform the organization.
"We need to stop any attempt to move away from the principle of consensus, they can bury the OSCE," - said the representative of the Russian Federation.

It is noteworthy that the official text of the speech Lavrov, published on the website of Foreign Ministry, missing most of his conflicting statements - it seems that the Russian Minister of substantially rewrote his report after the bilateral talks.

Lavrov indignation is understandable. Disclaimer consensus will mean that Russia will lose the right to veto decisions of the organization. A source from the EP suggests that most decisions, including the Ukraine, blocked by just one vote "against", and it is - the voice of.

That is why the OSCE really started talks about changing the voting principles. This was stated in particular in Pavlo Klimkin comments for "European truth."

Related: Lavrov denies Normandy Four Foreign Ministers' meeting

"We have been discussing the possibility of making decisions in the form of" consensus minus one. "There is also the idea of" minus two ", but the basic version - minus one" - he explained.

But do not expect the collapse of the OSCE scenario, threatened the head of Russian diplomacy? Unfortunately or fortunately, and soon this will happen.  "Even in terms of better tactics to block a lot of things within the OSCE than go with the OSCE. And change the principle of consensus is not possible without the consent of Russia," recognizes Klimkin.

Related: OSCE should determine parameters of police mission in Donbas itself, - Kremlin

Ministeriales of OSCE format always end with the adoption of a number of joint documents, and one of them is of particular importance.  And in recent years has become the exception to the rule. Belgrade meeting of the OSCE in 2015 was completely empty. Now the same fate awaits meeting in Hamburg which will end without the adoption of a comprehensive final declaration.

And no doubt that the next meeting of the OSCE, to be held in Austria in December 2017, also did not have a key result.

If a year ago the ministers sought a compromise until the last moment and even in violation of regulations, lingered over until midnight the next day, in Germany, the experience of previous years,

everyone knew: the compromise will not, Russia will block everything.

Therefore, negotiations on the final document stopped before the ministerial meeting in Hamburg, not to waste time in vain and not to spoil nerves.

Not surprisingly, the stumbling block was the Ukrainian question.

Ukraine insisted that the text should be the phrase respect for the territorial integrity of member states of the OSCE (and in fact - Ukraine) internationally recognized borders. For Moscow, this formula was unacceptable because it meant recognition of the Ukrainian Crimea.

Related: Klimkin stresses on strengthening OSCE mission

And especially not had a chance to agree on a separate declaration of the ministerial meeting on "the conflict in and around Ukraine" (the wording used to determine OSCE Russian aggression), or at least on the Minsk process. Germany trying to agree about such a statement, but realized that these attempts have no chance when faced with the new requirement of.

Russian diplomats are required to transfer the settlement of a bilateral format, saying that Ukraine has started talks with the self-proclaimed "power" of LPR and DPR. "There is no alternative to direct negotiations the parties, Kyiv and Donbas, brokered by the Contact Group and Norman format" - said Sergey Lavrov, commenting on the position of Moscow.

Statements on European issues also mired in search of compromise.

So, suddenly appeared difficult reconciliation statement of opposition to the migration crisis. Russia insisted that the document is put in the West blame for its occurrence; Western states, of course, were against. Finally, this document will likely still be adopted, but it has no substance.

It should be added that the Russian initiative also supported.

Thus, at the stage of preliminary agreement other OSCE participating States "killed" Russian project "sports" declaration had to condemn the decision of the International Olympic Committee on the disqualification of the Russian team and the declaration of "media pluralism", which planned to add provisions on the inadmissibility limiting Russian broadcasters.

Related: Lavrov: no active hostilities by the Syrian army in Eastern Aleppo

After the failed meeting, remains the question: what is the nature and what is the need for an organization that simply unable to make decisions.

"Let us remember the essence of the OSCE. The basis of the principles were, but they ruined Russia. Also, the OSCE was based trust (in particular, it is based on the Helsinki principles). Russia also destroyed trust.

The only thing we have left - the so-called "dimensions", economic, humanitarian and so on. Among them stands the question of human rights. Without it, I do not see the organization. In particular, without the presence of the OSCE in occupied Crimea.

The absurdity of the situation is that the emptiness of existence of the OSCE in its present form is understood by all, but it is not able to change anyone. The organization becomes a conversation club, an analogue of the CIS, which makes sense except in facilitating bilateral negotiations ministers during the high-level meeting.

OSCE bodies (including CMM, ODIHR and others) are more effective, they continue to work on existing mandates.

Related: Lavrov commented on US decision to limit military contacts with Russia

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