STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR RAUF ENGİN SOYSAL PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF TURKEY In response to the Report by Secretary-General Lamberto ZANNIER (1150th Permanent Council)
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
Dear Lamberto, you have been one of the constants in this hall and in the OSCE family for so many years.
A solemn change of the guard always offers a good opportunity to look back and ponder upon all that has transpired during your tenure.
When you took office, the OSCE had no more than a very faint beep on the international community’s radar screen. I am told that the PC’s were almost bland and usually ended before noon. The Organization would try to offer a platform for dialogue, a conduit for the exchange of best practices while continuing its attempts to address protracted conflicts. All this was being done in a climate dominated by increasing tensions at a grander scale. There were significant challenges, indeed. The profound changes affecting the Mediterranean Basin were under way. But the OSCE family had cometogether and adopted the Astana Declaration.
Still, much has changed.
But perhaps not so, as far as the protracted conflicts are concerned. They still continue to poison the atmosphere. They remain sources of concern for flare-ups.
The conflict in and around Ukraine erupted. The OSCE rose to the challenge of being the foremost international organization to be involved in attempts to find a peaceful solution to this crisis. It succeeded to adapt itself to the ever-changing circumstances on the ground and the ever-increasing exigencies it had to satisfy.
The Astana Summit had underlined once again how much the security of the OSCE region is inextricably linked to security in adjacent regions. The developments in Syria and in Iraq brought new, formidable challenges on our doorstep—more for some participating States than others. Massive flows of refugees have not posed incredible challenges per se, but also fanned nefarious exclusionist tendencies like islamophobia. The threat of terrorism has assumed unseen proportions with new facets and phenomena as Foreign Terrorist Fighters, as well as hitherto unseen horrific methods to disrupt peace and life.
All these call for questioning. We are an organization that aims, first and foremost, to enhance the security of our citizens. We have a unique concept of common, comprehensive, co-operative and indivisible security to advance towards this goal. May we suggest that the OSCE area is more secure than it was six years ago? Have we been able to overcome the lack of confidence and trust among ourselves? Have we been able to solve the critical issues that have been on our agenda for so many years? Have we been able to ease the tensions that have been clouding our cooperation? Have we been able to live up to the ownership requirement to breathe new life into the OSCE? Have we been able to perform dialogue not only to voice our views, but also to listen to others with the objective of enhancing the spirit of togetherness and of moving forward together?
The Secretary-General is the person who is responsible to ensure that this organization is always up-to-date and geared to perform the tasks that we give it. From such a perspective, Ambassador Zannier has done a magnificent job across the organizations’ footprint covering all three dimensions and the realm of cross-dimensional issues.
The development of handbooks and reference documents covering a wide range of fields from combatting terrorism to fighting corruption, from cyber-issues to border management has been a most valuable contribution to the added value that the OSCE brings to our collective security. Our toolkit has always been subject to review and improvement.
Tapping on the OSCE’s convening power, the introduction of Security Days discussions on topical issues has been key in adding those issues to our agenda.
Steady improvement of the Organization’s gender perspective, as well as the constant review of human resources related matters will also go down with bold letters in the positives side of the score sheet.
I could go on and on in listing your contributions to the OSCE. But I am aware that the more I speak, the more I will be encroaching upon the time of others willing to do the same. I will, therefore, limit myself to note how, in addition to all these and other contributions you made to make the OSCE what we all want it to be, your wise and able leadership of the Secretariat, your insightful interventions to our deliberations have all been both sobering and inspiring. You proved to be a solid and reliable interlocutor who was always reachable.
It has been a wonderful experience working with you. So, also on behalf of all those who were part of our Permanent Mission over the last 6 years, I thank you and wish you the very best in all your future endeavors.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.