OSCE to lose its role if not reformed – Lavrov

OSCE to lose its role if not reformed – Lavrov
Without serious reforms, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) could become irrelevant, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

"It is obvious that without profound OSCE reforms, without the organization's transition on a solid legal basis, it will keep losing its high role," Lavrov said at a meeting of foreign ministers from OSCE member states in Vilnius, as cited by Itar-Tass.

According to Russia's top diplomat, the preparations for the gathering once again showed that the OSCE’s “existing instruments malfunction while the path of extensively increasing the number of documents and obligations has exhausted itself, especially when previous obligations – such as guaranteeing freedom of movement – are being 'forgotten'.”

Lavrov pointed out that Moscow has its own vision of how the organization should be reformed and has already put forward its ideas.

“The projects of respective draft decisions submitted by Russia and our partners concerning different aspects of the reform are worth being seriously considered,” he said. “It is important not to forget about the main OSCE mission as a collective instrument to ensure security and co-operation."

Speaking at the meeting, Lavrov also called on the security organization to address the growth of nationalism in Europe.

"We believe it is crucially important to respond to an address submitted to the OSCE by the non-governmental association, 'Lithuania without Nazism,' with an appeal to consider the growing nationalistic and neo-Nazi manifestations in the European space," the minister said.

Lavrov also touched upon the situation in Kosovo and accused international forces in the region – the NATO-led KFOR and the EU mission EULEX – of failing to observe neutrality.

“The OSCE must stay focused on the situation in Kosovo, which has aggravated again following deviations from the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the failure to observe neutral status by the international [forces],” he said.

The head of Russian diplomacy also noted that the OSCE could make its contribution to the settlement of the situation in North Africa and the Middle East.

"The developments of the 'Arab spring' and the difficult progress of the Afghan settlement call for greater attention to the relations between the OSCE and its partners by co-operation," he stressed.

Moscow would like Arab nations to decide on their future developments without outside interference, Lavrov underlined.

"The OSCE could make a contribution, within the limits of its potentialities, to the international support for those processes, with the UN playing the key role, and proceeding from the resources it has and in response to the appeals of the partner countries themselves," he added.

Russia has repeatedly voiced its criticism over the way UN resolutions – such as the one adopted on Libya – are implemented. During the Vilnius meeting, Lavrov stated that Security Council resolutions are often used for illegal ends.

"The deliberate use of resolutions of the UN Security Council for illegal purposes, the attempts to interfere in domestic conflicts in support of one of the conflicting parties, including with the use of force, under the pretext of 'responsibility for protection,' evoke serious concern,” Lavrov said.

According to the official, double standards are used in approaches to different crisis situations and this may lead to grave consequences. Lavrov stressed that deviation from the principle of the supremacy of law will “undermine global and regional security and will destroy the foundation, on which the whole system of international relations is built."