We will find a way to bypass Russia’s vetoes: U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE

We will find a way to work together, even if that means changing some procedural rules, Michael Carpenter, U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE, said, referring to Russia's power of veto as a member of the organisation.

We will find a way to work together, even if that means changing some procedural rules, Michael Carpenter, U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE, said, referring to Russia's power of veto as a member of the organisation.

According to him, it had been decided that the OSCE would not continue to be paralysed by Russian obstructionist attempts. “We will be creative, we will be determined and we will find ways to get things done,” he declared.

He noted that the OSCE had already started to work this way since the war in Ukraine broke out. In this context, he mentioned, among other things, the use of the OSCE’s so-called Moscow Mechanism, which allows decisions to be taken without the requirement of consensus when one country wants to weaken the organisation using this principle.

Carpenter said that within the OSCE, members would look for a way to find a consensus and that - probably by using voluntary contributions from states - to prevent Russia and Belarus from blocking aid-related programmes to Ukraine.

He also stressed that the organisation’s values are more important than its procedures and countries like Russia and Belarus should not be allowed to completely block its ability to operate.

Referring to the potential deployment of military equipment on NATO’s eastern flank, he said that the matter is “a topic for allied discussions.”

‘Difficult years approaching’

Zbigniew Rau, Polish Foreign Minister and the outgoing OSCE chairman, assessed the coming years as being “extremely difficult” for the organisation due to the unpredictable military situation in Europe.

Any progress will not be made until the current conflict is resolved “with full respect for international law and the will of the Ukrainian people,” he pointed out. As the minister stressed, OSCE should be concentrating on intensifying its work on humanitarian, economic and environmental issues, adding that “respect for human rights translates into the preservation of peace and stability.”

“For this organisation to succeed, all future Chairmanships and all peace-loving States must not betray the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter,” Mr Rau went on to say. “The adoption of these documents, and the strength of the principles expressed in them, brought hope to many nations of Eastern and Central Europe.”

“Helsinki was a promise that the Soviet domination would end and the subjugated nations would reclaim their right to determine their future freely. The spirit of Helsinki was also the spirit of the Polish Solidarity movement – the movement that brought freedom to my homeland,” he emphasised.

“Then, Paris brought hope for a successful transformation of Europe, for making it whole, free and at peace. The message from Paris emboldened my nation to make a sovereign decision to tie its future with the community of democratic States, believing and supporting the rules-based international order,” the minister explained.

New leadership

During the organisation's session, Mr Rau symbolically handed over the chairmanship of the OSCE to North Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani, who will chair the Organisation in 2023.

Mr Osmani assessed that the concluded summit was “quite unconventional”, since no political decisions were taken and no documents were issued. Nevertheless, he said, many important issues for the organisation were discussed.

All of us should now focus on stopping the war and creating a stable ground for cooperation,” he appealed, stressing that the Russian aggression against Ukraine must be brought to an end.

The Troika Statement

During the summit, foreign ministers of Poland, Sweden and North Macedonia issued a joint statement, expressing their concern about “the use of force and coercion to change borders”, emphasising that such actions “have no place in the 21st century.” “We reaffirm our full adherence to the Charter of the United Nations and to all the OSCE norms, principles and commitments, starting with the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, the Charter for European Security and all other OSCE documents to which we have agreed,” the Ministers wrote.

Read the full statement here.