Speech from Tobias Billström

National Statement by Sweden at the OSCE 29th Ministerial Council

Published

National Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Mr Tobias Billström, held at the OSCE 29th Ministerial Council 1 December 2022.

Excellencies, dear colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me thank our Polish hosts - and Minister Rau, who have guided the organization through this incredibly challenging year - Secretary General Schmid, Heads of Institutions and all OSCE staff. We also appreciate the important role of the Parliamentary Assembly.

While Sweden fully aligns itself with the statement by the European Union, I would also like to make some national remarks, and as a member of the OSCE troika.

The OSCE is an exceptional organisation, with a unique mandate and value in the international rules-based order.

There is no other forum where we all meet - to hold each other accountable to the commitments to comprehensive security that we have made to uphold security in our region.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is a clear violation of the UN Charter.

Russia bears the full responsibility for this war – which has put European security in an extremely grave situation.

Russia’s aggression and violations of OSCE principles and commitments has reminded us of the value of the organisation.

Let it be clear - we will never recognise the illegal annexations.

If Russia wants, Russia could end this war today.

We recall that Belarus, in allowing Russia to use its territory to launch attacks against Ukraine, bears an independent responsibility for acts of aggression against Ukraine.

We need to be consistent and long-term in our assistance to Ukraine. Sweden, bilaterally and through the EU, has provided extensive humanitarian, economic, military, and legal support.

Ukrainians fight in defence of both their country, and the principles that underpin the OSCE and our common security.

Russia’s aggression has serious consequences beyond Ukraine. Our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republics of Moldova and Georgia remains unwavering.

Excellencies,
The loud and clear message from the parallel civil society conference confirms the worrisome democratic backsliding and violations of human rights in our region.

This development is a serious threat to our security – and at fault with core OSCE commitments. The autonomous institutions play an invaluable role in assisting participating States in this field.

Security and freedom are interlinked. The Moscow Mechanism report on Russia earlier this year clearly showed how there is a manifest link between the internal repression in Russia, and Russia’s external aggression. The OSCE ’s comprehensive concept of security remains an excellent platform to address this.

Dear colleagues, As OSCE Chair last year, Sweden took on the tasks to:

  • Defend the European Security Order, as expressed in theHelsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris.
  • Contribute to conflict resolution.
  • And focus on human rights, democracy and gender equality,including Women, Peace and Security; and we put climate security on the agenda, resulting in the ground-breaking decision on climate in Stockholm last year.

Sweden is now leaving the troika, but we will stay engaged in support of the organisation.

All participating States have a shared responsibility to provide the OSCE with the necessary resources. We call on those blocking the budget to engage constructively to break this deadlock.

I again thank Poland for their efforts this year – and give my strong support to the incoming Chair, North Macedonia.

Thank you!