Divided OSCE nations approve security declaration at last

The summit in Astana was saved from failure at the last moment, and the declaration adopted for the first time in 11 years shows no signs of the OSCE’s modernization.

The summit of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) held in Astana, Kazakhsatan, approved the political declaration that alls to settle conflicts peacefully. The document called the Astana Commemorative Declaration: Towards a Security Community was adopted by 56 member states and announced late on Thursday.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of the hoist country, said the declaration supported the approach to security “based on trust and transparency in the politico-military field.” The document also mentions OSCE’s economic and environmental policy, full-fledged observation of human rights, basic freedoms and the rule of law.

Conflicts on territories of the OSCE countries should be settled peacefully in compliance with the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, the declaration said.

According to Nazarbayev, implementing the Astana commitments would prove the vitality of the organization. However, he warned that the way to a true Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian community with united and indivisible security “will be long and thorny.”

Lithuania will hold the 2011 OSCE chairmanship. The organization will try to focus on settling regional conflicts in its area of influence. But the summit’s final document did not offer specific plans regarding conflicts over Nagorno-Karabakh, Transdniester and the conflict between Georgia and its former republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The action plan for the conflict in the South Caucasus was not adopted because of “Russia’s opposition,” Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze said. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explained earlier that independent states Abkhazia and South Ossetia were Tbilisi’s “equal partners” in the negotiations. However, “the Western partners” prefer to speak about the “conflicts in Georgia,” he noted.

Summit avoids modernization issues

Analysts say the OSCE summit has not answered questions regarding the organization’s reform. President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking in Astana on December 1, stressed the need for the OSCE’s modernization. This is the only way “to fit into” the global architecture that is being formed now, the president said.

The participants of the summit, however, did discuss the reform of OSCE’s work. The meeting in Astana was intended to become “a landmark” in the history of the organization,” Kommersant daily said. But it was saved from failure only at the last moment, when the participants agreed to sign the declaration. 

While some world leaders skipped the work of the summit, others criticized the very principles of the organization. Election standards should be “universal” for all the OSCE countries, said Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. In some days, international observers will have to assess the fairness of the presidential elections in Belarus.

Another problem is “over-bureaucratized and sometimes blatantly humiliating visa procedure” that hinder freedom of movement, Lukashenko said. The situation today is much worse than 11 years ago, he noted, asking how people should “co-operate” on the OSCE space in these conditions.

Russian diplomatic sources told Kommersant that there were attempts at the level of leaders to revitalize the OSCE. However, at the bureaucratic level the organization “was drawn into almost confrontational work,” they noted.

Nevertheless, the participants of the summit managed to adopt the political declaration – the first such document in 11 years. But they still have to determine the future directions. “Russia is proposing a specific plan of the organization’s revival,” Mikhail Margelov, head of the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee told the daily. But the plan is not being heeded, he said, because “everyone has their own agenda.”

­Sergey Borisov, RT