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Implementation of security commitments at the forefront of the OSCE Annual Security Review Conference

Yesterday, the three-day Annual Security Review Conference of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) started, at which the participants will assess the activities undertaken in the last year and review the state of security and implementation of the assumed commitments in the OSCE area. The Slovenian side is represented by Ambassador-at-Large Dr Andrej Benedejčič, Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister for arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation.

This year’s meeting is being held via video conference for the capital-based participants. It is focused on the situation in Ukraine, transnational threats, frozen conflicts, Structured Dialogue, arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, and the OSCE’s conflict cycle, with particular emphasis on early warning.

At the opening session, Ambassador Benedejčič pointed out that as much as the times we are facing are hard, the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the many possibilities that modern communication technology offers for tackling these kinds of challenges. During the crisis, we have witnessed different acts of solidarity, including Slovenia’s assistance for the countries of the Western Balkans. However, some disturbing events have taken place during the pandemic, such as the deteriorating security situation in eastern Ukraine, reduced military contacts, and non-implementation of verification activities. One of the most important arms control agreements, the Treaty on Open Skies, has also been called into question, as one of the contracting States did not respect its provisions.

Ambassador Benedejčič has, therefore, underlined the importance of exchanging views within the OSCE, especially within the process of the Structured Dialogue, which requires the active engagement of all stakeholders. He further drew attention to the issue of systematic avoidance of discussions on hybrid threats by one of the OSCE participating States. These threats are as real as the terrorist threats that will also be discussed during Slovenia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2021. Ambassador Benedejčič thus congratulated the Albanian side for what it has achieved so far during its OSCE chairmanship, including organising the prominent Regional Conference on Foreign Terrorist Fighters. He also pointed out that it is important that Albania, as the current holder of the OSCE chairmanship, consistently devotes particular attention to the inclusion of women in security processes. He concluded his speech by calling for even closer dialogue and higher degree of diplomacy among the OSCE participating States.