NEWS AND EVENTS
January 11, 2006
OSCE: meeting demands of the times
The capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana, has recently played host to the 13th sitting of the OSCE\'s Foreign Ministers Council. For the Republic of Uzbekistan, this event was particularly remarkable, because the country has expounded its position concerning the badly needed reformation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The last few years have seen the build-up of a number of serious faults in the activity carried out by the OSCE. These bear directly on the comprehension of its underlying principles, as well as on a growing disbalance in its practical performance. One of the vivid indicators of the Organization\'s inner \"ailments\" is that, starting 1999, it has failed to work out an agenda conclusive enough to be considered at the high political level -the OSCE summit.
Moreover, over the last three years, all attempts to coordinate general political declarations of the Organization\'s Foreign Ministers Council have met with little success.
Under the conditions of a systemic crisis presently unfolding within the OSCE, doubts about the latter\'s capacity to meet new, more demanding challenges are heard more and more often. Most its member states recognize the urgent necessity to reform the Organization as a whole. This means, in the first place, making its institutions and structures more flexible and adaptable to the fast-changing political environment, while eliminating the most prominent functional disbalances in its activity.
The Uzbek side regards the sitting of the OSCE\'s Foreign Ministers Council as one more opportunity to launch the process of root-and- branch overhaul of this international organization, with a view to breaking down a variety of functional, geographical and other kinds of barriers and disbalances that, taken together, make its efficient performance impossible. Adapting the OSCE to new threats to security, as well as to realities of the geopolitics of the day comes to the top of its agenda, stressed Elyor Ganiev, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan. These issues are becoming particularly topical, if one bears in mind the fact that the OSCE summit was not convened since 1999.
In this context, the Republic of Uzbekistan seconds the conclusions and recommendations made by a group of eminent public and political figures, all geared toward the achievement of unity in the understanding by the members rates of the problems facing the OSCE to date, as well as the tasks and purposes that need to be addressed to make the Organization more responsive to the expectations and aspirations of mankind.
Its efficient performance is hampered by a serious disbalance between the3 \"baskets\" that underline its routine activity. One can regard, with good reason, the following posture of affairs as unilateral: the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, designed to deal, first and foremost, with the problems of security, economy, ecology and democratization in its member states, concentrates irs attention, instead, on a mere monitoring of how the human rights and freedoms are observed on the territory of the CIS, as well as on the election-related processes taking place there.
One of the most pressing and priority tasks of OSCE reformation is a cardinal change in the nature, tasks and mechanisms the Organization employs when carrying out its activity in the election domain. OSCE missions are mainly sent to the OS. It is on the basis of their one-sided monitoring of the election processes in this region that extremely subjective and preconceived conclusions are inferred, which have nothing to do with the actual state of affairs there. Increased attention to certain countries, combined with the naked disregard of the most acute problems in the other countries, can also be viewed as a testimony to the fact that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe adheres to a \"double-standards\" policy.
That the OSCE institutions are frequently used not as mechanisms of actual influence, but as a means of political pressure gives rise to profound concern. Needless to say, this undermines their authority and shakes the world community\'s faith in the Organization as a whole. The Republic of Uzbekistan opines that its institutions should work in keeping with the political priorities approved by its collective bodies. In addition, the plans of action of all the OSCE\'s structures should be elaborated for a long-term perspective, while containing a sufficient level of flexibility to be always in line with a changing environment in the field of international security.
The Republic of Uzbekistan backs the opinion about the necessity to increase transparency in the way the Organization\'s off- budget funds earmarked to support the activity of its institutions are used. In this context, it is essential to radically review the tasks and methods applied in its work by the Bureau of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Of no less importance is the urgent need to work out, approve and introduce, within the OSCE\'s framework, a set of general objective criteria for election assessment acceptable on the entire territory of its incidence, including a comparative analysis of election laws, which Will be based on some unified approaches to the evaluation of election processes that take place in the region covered by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OSCE\'s \"field activity\" in its current form is of low efficiency, since it is directed exclusively to monitoring the situation with human rights and democratic institutes, while practically ignoring other vital areas and niggling problems.
The Uzbek side thinks that one of the reasons behind the current posture of affairs within and around the OSCE is the violation of the fundamental principle of equal political dialogue, as well as the attempts to distribute the roles among its member states.
Such tendencies are gaining momentum at a time when the threats to security and sustainable development of our countries are growing in number and diversity. Such a situation requires not only consolidation of the world community\'s efforts, but also adequate responses at the national, regional and global levels, including from the OSCE itself. Unfortunately, the unaminity of understanding the nature of contemporary threats is observed neither in the international community nor within the OSCE. What makes the situation worse is the application of \"double standards\" in the assessment of antiterrorist efforts taken by one or another nation. Designed to facilitate the elaboration of collective responses to common threats to security, the OSCE has failed to give an objective appraisal of the unprecedented terrorist act perpetrated in the Uzbek town of Andijan in May 2005.
In connection with this, attention it the Republic of Uzbekistan has been turned to the hasty, ungrounded and tactless, to say the least of it, statements made by several representatives of the OSCE with regard to these events. While completely ignoring its member stare\'s opinion and basing its assessments on the information provided by some NGO5 and the mass media, attempts have been made to depict a group of armed criminals as the \"fighters for democracy\".
What\'s more, the underlying principles based on the pre-eminence of the OSCE\'s collective bodies have been grossly infringed. The Bureau for Democratic Institutes and Human Rights and other officials have exceeded their authorities by stating, on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, their appraisals of the Andijan events without coordinating them with all OSCE member countries. Up to now, even after the terrorist acts in the US and a number of European countries, some extremist movements and groups, openly propagandizing religious intolerance and international dissension, continue to operate freely on the territory of some OSCE member states.
That\'s why, it is necessary to once again emphasize the fact that against the background of growing consolidation of terrorist forces on the world stage, concentration of efforts, above all, on the ideological foundation of terrorism is vitally important to date. Besides, the nations should combine their efforts in order to ban the activity of international extremist organizations in all OSCE member states. Also high on the agenda Is the efficient fight against the drugs business, one of the major sources from which international terrorism and religious extremism are funded.
In this context, the Republic of Uzbekistan backs a draft resolution of the OSCE\'s Foreign Ministers Council on the fight against the illegal circulation of drugs, whose implementation is expected to substantially activate international efforts on this front.
According to Uzbekistan, the basic priorities and tasks associated with the reformation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are as follows:
1) The OSCE should regain its role as a key forum for equal dialogue and decision-making on the urgent security-related problems, including by developing a charter and precise rules and procedures.
2) The OSCE should abandon the so-called \"specialization\" in the post-Soviet space, while recommending Belgium ,which is currently holding chairmanship in this Organization, to ensure the latter\'s well-balanced activity in all three directions.
3) Taking into consideration the ropicality of international collaboration in the struggle against terrorism, extremism, drugs trafficking and other challenges to security, it is advisable to hold consultations next year on intensifying collaboration between the European-Atlantic structures, on the one hand, and the CIS, SOC and other regional organizations, on the other.
4) It is necessary to ensure the unconditional retention and solidification of consensus as a basis for the Organization\'s efficient performance, to further raise the role and responsibility of its collective bodies, notably the Permanent Council, in making decisions of singular importance.
5) IL is necessary to ensure the fulfillment by all institutions and structures of the OSCE of their mandates, including \"field missions\", as well as to consider a range of issues relating to an increase in the level of their responsibility.
6) In the period before the next sitting of the OSCE\'s Foreign Ministers Council, it is necessary to take concrete steps aimed at developing a set of unified criteria, methodologies, analytical frameworks, concepts and valuation procedures, to be applicable to the election sphere, which are based on a guaranteed equal treatment of all the Organization\'s member countries. The OSCE should not accentuate its attention only on the countries eastwards of Vienna. As well as that, the procedure for forming its monitoring missions should be reviewed.