EU, U.S. Back Increased OSCE Role in S.Ossetia

Georgia Materials 5 December 2006 13:52 (UTC +04:00)

(civil.ge) - In their addresses to the OSCE Ministerial Council in Brussels on December 4 the United States and European Union called on the organization for more involvement in resolving South Ossetian conflict, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the OSCE is used as a tool for advancing one-sided politicized approaches to conflicts.

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told the Ministerial Council that Georgia and Moldova are under tremendous pressures and protracted conflicts and external threats impede their full economic and democratic development.

As long as these countries remain torn apart from within, and as long as open support for separatist regimes continues from without, these societies will find it harder to realize their potential, Nicholas Burns said, reports Trend.

He said that the OSCE should expand its activities in South Ossetia and press authorities in that breakaway region to take demilitarizing steps.

We should increase the number of OSCE monitors with access to the entire region, and seek joint Georgia/Russia/OSCE monitoring of the Roki Tunnel [linking South Ossetia with Russia's North Ossetia], the U.S. Under Secretary of State said.

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, who spoke on behalf of the EU, said that the capabilities of the OSCE, in strengthening security and confidence building measures should be fully utilized - for example by more comprehensive OSCE monitoring in the South Ossetian region.

He also said that statements and actions which might be interpreted as questioning the principles of national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as incitement to separatist regimes, should be avoided.

The Finnish Foreign Minister also expressed concern about the Georgian-Russian tensions and about the consequences of the measures taken by Russia against Georgia. The EU has also called for toning down public rhetoric.

Speaking at the Ministerial Council, Sergey Lavrov said that the OSCE is still used as a vehicle for advancing one-sided politicized approaches to resolving certain frozen conflicts, which have nothing to do with real efforts aimed at their lasting settlement.

The experience shows that such actions could only lead to escalation of tensions and distrust, and set back the settlement, Lavrov said.

He said that the international community should be guided by fundamental principles dealing with conflicts, which includes bona-fide consideration of existing negotiating and peace-building arrangements.