Threat of war in OSCE area is greatest in last 30 years: Polish FM

“It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than it has ever been in the last 30 years,” Zbigniew Rau, the Polish Foreign Minister, said in Vienna on Thursday. He also announced the involvement of the Polish chairmanship of the organisation in solving security challenges in Eastern Europe.

“We have gathered today in Vienna to enter into another year of work, which has one overarching aim: to bring peace to the people living in the area from Vancouver to Vladivostok,” Mr Rau said during his speech at the session of the Permanent Council of the OSCE.

He presented the priorities of the Polish presidency in the organisation and referred to the history of the country, pointing to its experience of resistance to the imperial aspirations of its neighbours.

“The fall of the Iron Curtain 30 years ago was a moment of regaining sovereignty and statehood for my country and all of Central Europe,” he stressed.

“As we are a nation with a traumatic history that has benefited greatly from peace in Europe, we know perfectly well which proposals are aimed at and which are endangering peace. We will share this experience during our OSCE Chairmanship,” the minister declared.

He also assured that the Polish Presidency would not be indifferent to security concerns raised by any participating state. Referring to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Mr Rau stressed that the OSCE was well prepared to help alleviate existing disputes. He declared to focus on the peaceful resolution of the conflict in and around Ukraine, in line with the Minsk Agreements and with full respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the country within the borders recognised by the international community.

Poland took over the OSCE chairmanship from Sweden on January 1st. This is the second time the country will chair the organisation, having previously done so in 1998. Zbigniew Rau took up the role as the OSCE’s Chairperson-in-Office.