At the outset, I join my other colleagues in congratulating His Excellency Mr. Frank Walter Steinmeier, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, for his assumption to the position of the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE for 2016 and welcome him to the Security Council.
2. My delegation is grateful for his briefing, which clearly outlined the priorities of the OSCE under Germany’s Chairmanship.
3. Malaysia welcomes the reaffirmation by the Chairperson-in-Office to continue the close cooperation of the OSCE with the UN. Over the years, the OSCE has proven its relevance and resilience as the world’s largest regional security organisation.
4. Its inclusive and cooperative nature is its key strength in responding to various security threats and challenges in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian regions. We greatly value its contribution and commend the holistic approach of the OSCE in dealing with wide-ranging security challenges, including conflict prevention, conflict management, combating terrorism, arms control and ensuring respect for human rights.
5. The significant role of the OSCE was thrust to the limelight with the crisis in Ukraine. The OSCE’s engagement in Ukraine, through the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, its participation in the Trilateral Contact Group, and the Observer Mission at the Russian checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk deserves the Council’s strong support.
6. We acknowledge the significant progress made in Ukraine, relating to military deescalation and the withdrawal of weapons. However, we remained deeply concerned that the agreed ceasefire remains fragile and that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission still does not have full access to the entire conflict zone, particularly the rebel-held areas.
7. We strongly urge all relevant parties to abide by the obligations laid down by the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements last year, which was endorsed by this Council in resolution 2202. We wish to see full cooperation by all parties with the OSCE to enable it to carry out its mandate.
8. Malaysia also calls on the parties to intensify efforts to implement outstanding provisions of the Package of Measures, including releasing all hostages, withdrawing of foreign troops and weapons, allowing humanitarian access, and organising local elections in the conflict areas.
9. I wish to also take this opportunity to commend the role played by the OSCE in the aftermath of the downing of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, including in facilitating the recovery and investigation efforts, despite challenging security situation on the ground.
10. Relating to the various “frozen conflicts” including in Central Asia, the Southern Caucases and Moldova, we hope the focus on dialogue, confidence-building measures and mediation by the German Chairmanship will provide new impetus towards resolving the conflicts, in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, various UN resolutions, as well as the Helsinki Final Act. We reiterate the need for the conflicting parties to respect the principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty, and the inadmissibility of the use of force for the acquisition of territory, and to focus on the deescalation of conflict and peaceful settlement of disputes.
11. Malaysia recognises and fully supports the stabilising role played by the OSCE in Western Balkans, including its missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in Kosovo. The OSCE has been vital in building institutions and promoting reconciliation in the region, and brought about great strides in political, judiciary, electoral, economic and social reforms in the post-conflict societies.
12. I wish to also highlight and welcome the conference organized by the OSCE earlier this month in Vienna to identify strategies to counter intolerance against Muslims in the OSCE regions. We commend the priority accorded by the OSCE to address discrimination, racism and xenophobia, particularly in view of the rising sentiment of Islamophobia in the OSCE regions.
13. In concluding, Malaysia reiterates its support for the OSCE and the priorities set out by the Chairperson-in-Office to renew dialogue, rebuild trust, and restore security in the region.
14. We wish Germany success for its Chairmanship, and we reaffirm our continued commitment to cooperate closely with the OSCE, in maintaining peace and security in the region, under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter.
I thank you, Mr. President.