ОГОЛОШЕННЯ

31 березня 2019 року відбудуться чергові вибори Президента України. Завчасно подбайте про можливість проголосувати!

До уваги громадян України!

Центральна виборча комісія оголосила про початок з 31 грудня 2018 року виборчого процесу чергових виборів Президента України 31 березня 2019 року (http://www.cvk.gov.ua/pls/acts/ShowCard?id=44189&what=0). 

Верховна Рада України Постановою від 26 листопада 2018 року "Про призначення чергових виборів Президента України" призначила чергові вибори Президента України на неділю, 31 березня 2019 року. 

Громадянин України, який проживає або перебуває в період підготовки та проведення виборів за межами України, реалізує своє право голосу на виборах на загальних підставах, незалежно від правових підстав перебування на території іноземної держави.

Для того, щоб виборцю реалізувати своє право голосу за межами України і взяти участь у виборах Президента України та народних депутатів України на закордонній виборчій дільниці при Консульстві України в Бресті, просимо уважно ознайомитися з пам'яткою виборцю, підготовленою Департаментом консульської служби МЗС України. 

Пам’ятка для громадян України, які проживають або перебувають в Республіці Білорусь (Брестська, Гродненська області) у день виборів Президента України 31 березня 2019 року

Громадянам України, які проживають/перебувають на території Брестської та Гродненської областей, можна буде проголосувати на виборчій дільниці, розташованій у Консульстві України в Бресті за адресою: вул. Воровського, 19, 224030, м. Брест з 08:00 до 20:00 (за місцевим часом) 31 березня 2019 року.

Кожен громадянин України, який постійно проживає або тимчасово перебуває за кордоном і на день голосування досяг 18-річного віку, може взяти участь у голосуванні.

Громадянам України, які проживають/перебувають на території Брестської та Гродненської областей, можна буде проголосувати на виборчій дільниці, розташованій у Консульстві України в Бресті за адресою: вул. Воровського, 19, 224030, м. Брест з 08:00 до 20:00 (за місцевим часом) 31 березня 2019 року.

Документами, які дають право для отримання виборчого бюлетеня і голосування на закордонній виборчій дільниці, є:

  • паспорт громадянина України для виїзду за кордон; або
  • дипломатичний паспорт України; або
  • службовий паспорт України.

Для участі у виборах необхідно бути включеним до списків виборців на виборчій дільниці саме при Консульстві України в Бресті.

У зв’язку з цим радимо завчасно перевірити інформацію щодо включення ваших даних до списку виборців, а також правильність написання свого прізвища, імені, по батькові та інших даних в розділі «Перевірка включення» за таким посиланням: https://www.drv.gov.ua/ords/svc/f?p=111:LOGIN .

У разі, якщо особа не включена до списку виборців на цій виборчій дільниці необхідно завчасно (бажано заздалегідь) oсобисто прибути до Консульства України в Бресті і стати на консульський облік:

  • тимчасовий облік – без стягнення консульського збору
  • постійний облік – стягується консульський збір

Перебування на консульському обліку забезпечує автоматичне включення особи до списку виборців на даній виборчій дільниці.

У разі, якщо  особу раніше було включено до Державного реєстру виборців, однак вона з тих чи інших причин змінила виборчу адресу і має намір голосувати за новою виборчою адресою, необхідно особисто подати до Консульства України заяву про зміну виборчої адреси - Примірна форма заяви виборця, який проживає чи перебуває за межами України, щодо зміни його виборчої адреси  (детальніше: https://mfa.gov.ua/ua/page/open/id/2517 ).

Це стосується, зокрема, випадків зміни виборчої адреси в Україні на адресу проживання/перебування за кордоном або зміни однієї адреси проживання/перебування за кордоном на іншу (наприклад в іншій країні або на території консульського округу іншої закордонної дипломатичної установи).

Оскільки процедура внесення змін до Державного реєстру виборців вимагає певного алгоритму дій, наполегливо рекомендуємо подавати заяви про включення або зміну даних у Державному реєстрі виборців заздалегідь.

У разі, якщо Вас включено до списку виборців за своєю виборчою адресою, однак Ви знаєте, що у день виборів тимчасово перебуватимете за іншою виборчою адресою, в т.ч. у Білорусі (наприклад, у зв’язку з відрядженням, навчанням, роботою чи іншими подіями), необхідно особисто подати до органу ведення Державного реєстру виборців в Україні заяву про тимчасову зміну місця голосування без зміни виборчої адреси. Це дозволить Вам одноразово проголосувати в день голосування на одній з виборчих дільниць в Республіці Білорусь (детальніше:https://www.drv.gov.ua/ords/portal/!cm_core.cm_index?option=ext_static_page&ppg_id=108&pmn_id=154 ) Зазначена Заява  подається виключно до органу ведення Державного реєстру виборців за виборчою адресою в Україні не пізніше ніж за п’ять днів до дня голосування на  виборах Президента України, тобто до 25 березня 2019 року включно.

УВАГА!  Законом України «Про вибори Президента України» не передбачено можливості включення громадян України до списку виборців закордонної виборчої дільниці в день голосування.

У разі додаткових питань просимо звертатися

e-mail: gc_byb@mfa.gov.ua

або за телефонами: +375 (162) 22 04 55;   +375 (162) 22 03 88

Намір України розбудовувати відносини з ЄС на принципах інтеграції був вперше проголошений у Постанові Верховної Ради України від 2 липня 1993 року «Про основні напрями зовнішньої політики України». У документі закріплювалося, що «перспективною метою української зовнішньої політики є членство України в Європейських Співтовариствах за умови, що це не шкодитиме її національним інтересам. З метою підтримання стабільних відносин з Європейськими Співтовариствами Україна підпише Угоду про партнерство і співробітництво, реалізація якої стане першим етапом просування до асоційованого, а згодом - до повного її членства у цій організації».

Відносини між Україною та Європейським Союзом були започатковані в грудні 1991 року, коли Міністр закордонних справ Нідерландів, як представник головуючої в ЄС країни, у своєму листі від імені Євросоюзу офіційно визнав незалежність України.

У подальшому стратегічний курс України на європейську інтеграцію був підтверджений та розвинутий у Стратегії інтеграції України до ЄС, схваленій Указом Президента України 11 червня 1998 року, та Програмі інтеграції України до ЄС, схваленій Указом Президента України 14 вересня 2000 року. Зокрема, у Стратегії набуття повноправного членства в ЄС проголошено довготерміновою стратегічною метою європейської інтеграції України.

Політика України щодо розбудови відносин з Європейським Союзомвпроваджується на основі Закону України від 1 липня 2010 року «Про засади внутрішньої і зовнішньої політики» (в редакці від 1 січня 2015 року). Відповідно до статті 11 Закону однією з основоположних засад зовнішньої політики України є «забезпечення інтеграції України в європейський політичний, економічний, правовий простір з метою набуття членства в ЄС».

Дорожню карту та першочергові пріоритети становлення та розвитку України як члена європейської сім’ї визначено Стратегією сталого розвитку “Україна - 2020”, схваленою Указом Президента України №5/2015 від 12 січня 2015 року. У Документі зазначено, що ратифікувавши Угоду про асоціацію між Україною та ЄС, Україна отримала інструмент та дороговказ для внутрішніх перетворень, а виконання вимог цієї Угоди дає можливість Україні в подальшому стати повноцінним членом ЄС.

Першою правовою основою відносин між Україною та ЄС, яка започаткувала співробітництво з широкого кола політичних, торговельно-економічних та гуманітарних питань стала Угода про партнерство та співробітництво (УПС) від 14 червня 1994 р. (набула чинності 1 березня 1998 р.). Укладення УПС дозволило встановити регулярний двосторонній діалогу між Україною та ЄС на політичному та секторальних рівнях, впровадити впорядкований режим торгівлі між обома сторонами на основі принципів ГАТТ/СОТ, визначити пріоритети адаптації законодавства України до стандартів та норм Європейського Співтовариства (acquis communautaire) у визначених секторах української економіки.

У рамках УПС було визначено 7 пріоритетів співпраці між Україною та ЄС: енергетика, торгівля та інвестиції, юстиція та внутрішні справи, наближення законодавства України до законодавства Євросоюзу, охорона навколишнього середовища, транспортна сфера, транскордонне співробітництво, співпраця у сфері науки, технологій та космосу.

З метою надання двостороннім відносинам нового імпульсу і для врахування нових умов співробітництва, зокрема в контексті розширення ЄС 2004 року, сторони розробили та 21 лютого 2005 року під час засідання Ради з питань співробітництва схвалили План дій Україна-ЄС – двосторонній політичний документ, який дав змогу суттєво розширити двостороннє співробітництво України до ЄС без внесення змін до чинної договірно-правової бази. За своїм змістом План дій містив перелік конкретизованих зобов'язань України у сфері зміцнення демократичних інституцій, боротьби з корупцією, структурних економічних реформ та заходів по розвитку співпраці з ЄС в секторальних сферах. Серед ключових здобутків у розвитку відносин протягом терміну Плану дій: надання Україні статусу країни з ринковою економікою в рамках антидемпінгового законодавства ЄС, надання Україні права приєднуватися до зовнішньополітичних заяв і позицій ЄС, укладення Угоди про спрощення оформлення віз та Угоди про реадмісію осіб, поширення на Україну фінансування Європейського інвестиційного банку (Рамкова угода між Україною та Європейським інвестиційним банком), поглиблення секторальної співпраці, започаткування переговорів щодо укладення нового базового договору на заміну УПС.

З огляду на завершення у березні 2008 року 10-річного терміну дії УПС, 5 березня 2007 року Україна та ЄС розпочали переговорний процес щодо укладення нової угоди між Україною та ЄС. На період до укладення нової угоди чинність УПС щороку автоматично продовжується за взаємною згодою сторін. Після завершення вступу України до Світової організації торгівлі 18 лютого 2008 року були започатковані переговори в частині створення поглибленої та всеохоплюючої зони вільної торгівлі між Україною та ЄС, що відкриває шлях до лібералізації руху товарів, капіталів та послуг та широку гармонізацію нетарифних інструментів економічного регулювання. 9 вересня 2008 року на Паризькому саміті Україна та ЄС досягли політичної домовленості про укладення майбутньої угоди в форматі Угоди про асоціацію, яка будуватиметься на принципах політичної асоціації та економічної інтеграції.

Відповідно до домовленостей, досягнутих в ході Паризького саміту Україна-ЄС, у 2009 року сторонами був розроблений та схвалений Порядок денний асоціації (ПДА), який замінив План дій Україна – ЄС та поставив собі за мету слугувати орієнтиром для проведення реформ в Україні у процесі підготовки імплементації майбутньої Угоди про асоціацію. Реалізація Порядку денного асоціації дала можливість розпочати виконання вже погоджених положень Угоди про асоціацію між Україною та ЄС ще до її укладення.

У ході 15-го Саміту Україна-ЄС в Києві 19 грудня 2011 року сторони оголосили про завершення перегорів по майбутній Угоді про асоціацію, а 30 березня 2012 року текст майбутньої Угоди було парафовано главами переговірних команд України та ЄС.

Політичну частину Угоди про асоціацію було підписано 21 березня 2014 року, економічну частину — 27 червня 2014 року. 16 вересня 2014 року Верховна Рада України та Європейський Парламент синхронно ратифікували Угоду про асоціацію між Україною та ЄС.

Відповідно до статті 486 Угоди з 1 листопада 2014 року здійснюється її тимчасове застосування. Повністю Угода про асоціацію між Україною та ЄС набирає чинності після її ратифікації усіма державами-членами, в перший день другого місяця, що настає після дати здачі на зберігання до Генерального секретаріату Ради Європейського Союзу останньої ратифікаційної грамоти або останнього документа про затвердження.

Угода про асоціацію між Україною та ЄС є міжнародно-правовим документом, який на договірно-правовому рівні закріплює перехід відносин між Україною та ЄС від партнерства та співробітництва до політичної асоціації та економічної інтеграції.

Договірно-правову базу співробітництва Україна – ЄС складають також рамкові та галузеві угоди (zakon.rada.gov.ua)

Основним документом, яким на сьогодні визначається форма, зміст, а також процедура та механізми координації співробітництва між Україною та ЄС, є Угода про асоціацію Україна – ЄС.

Відповідно до ст. 460-470 Глави 1 "Інституційна структура" Розділу VII "Інституційні, загальні та прикінцеві положення" Угоди про асоціацію основними координуючими органами є:

  • Саміти Україна-ЄС, які є найвищим політичним рівнем діалогу Сторін, зокрема з питань імплементації Угоди (проводяться раз на рік). Саміти покликані здійснювати загальний нагляд за імплементацією Угоди, а також обговорення двосторонніх або міжнародних питань, що становлять спільний інтерес;
  • Рада асоціації, здійснює контроль і моніторинг застосування і виконання Угоди про асоціацію та періодично переглядає функціонування цієї Угоди у світлі її цілей. Засідання Ради асоціації проводяться регулярно щонайменше один раз на рік (на рівні міністрів), а також тоді, коли цього вимагають обставини. За взаємною згодою засідання Ради асоціації проводяться у будь-якому необхідному складі. Інавгураційне засідання Ради асоціації Україна-ЄС відбулося в грудні 2014 р. в Брюсселі.

Крім контролю і моніторингу застосування й виконання Угоди про асоціацію, Рада асоціації вивчає будь-які головні питання, що виникають в рамках Угоди, і будь-які інші двосторонні або міжнародні питання, що становлять взаємний інтерес.

Рада асоціації складається із членів Уряду України, з однієї сторони, та членів Ради Європейського Союзу і членів Європейської Комісії, з іншої сторони. Головування в Раді асоціації здійснюється по черзі представником України і представником Союзу. За необхідності та за взаємною згодою інші органи беруть участь у роботі Ради асоціації як спостерігачі.

Рада асоціації має повноваження приймати рішення в рамках сфери дії Угоди про асоціацію у випадках, передбачених нею. Такі рішення є обов’язковими для Сторін.

Рада асоціації може також надавати рекомендації.

Відповідно до мети поступового наближення законодавства України до права Союзу, Рада асоціації виступає також форумом для обміну інформацією про законодавчі акти України та Європейського Союзу, як чинні, так і ті, що перебувають на стадії підготовки, а також про заходи з їх виконання, впровадження та дотримання. З цією метою Рада асоціації може актуалізувати або вносити поправки до Додатків до Угоди про асоціацію, враховуючи розвиток права ЄС і застосовних стандартів, які визначені у міжнародних документах;

  • Комітет асоціації, що покликаний надавати допомогу Радi асоціації у виконанні нею своїх обов’язків та складається з представників Сторін, головним чином, на рівні вищих посадових осіб. Головування в Комітеті асоціації здійснюється по черзі представником України і представником Союзу.

Засідання Комітету асоціації проводяться щонайменше один раз на рік. Перше засідання Комітету асоціації відбулося у липні 2015 р. в Брюсселі.

Рада асоціації може делегувати Комітету асоціації будь-яке зі своїх повноважень, у тому числі повноваження приймати обов’язкові для виконання рішення.

Комітету асоціації надають допомогу підкомітети, створені відповідно до цієї Угоди.

Рішенням Ради асоціації від 15 грудня 2014 року утворено два підкомітети Комітету асоціації між Україною та ЄС: Підкомітет з питань свободи, безпеки та юстиції та Підкомітет з питань економіки та іншого секторального співробітництва.

Відповідно до статті 465 (4) Угоди про асоціацію створюється Комітет асоціації у спеціальному складі, який щонайменше раз на рік розглядатиме питання, охоплені положеннями Розділу IV "Торгівля і питання, пов’язані з торгівлею" Угоди (статті 25-336). Комітетові асоціації у торговельному складі є підзвітними підкомітети, створені відповідно до Розділу IV Угоди: Підкомітет з управління санітарними та фітосанітарними заходами; Підкомітет з питань митного співробітництв; Підкомітет з питань географічних зазначень; Підкомітет з питань торгівлі та сталого розвитку.

Крім цього, Рада асоціації може утворити спеціальні комітети або органи з окремих актуальних питань імплементації Угоди, визначити їхній склад, функції та обов’язки.

Комітет асоціації може також утворювати підкомітети для підбиття підсумків діяльності Сторін у визначених відповідно до Розділу V Угоди напрямах співпраці.

Функції секретаріатів Ради та Комітету асоціації між Україною та ЄС з української Сторони покладено на Урядовий офіс з питань європейської інтеграції у складі Секретаріату Кабінету Міністрів України.

  • Парламентський комітет асоціації, який є форумом для проведення засідань та обміну думками між українськими парламентарями та європарламентарями. Відповідно до складу Парламентського комітету входять члени Верховної Ради України та Європейського Парламенту.

Засідання цього Комітету проводяться з регулярністю, яку він визначає самостійно. Інавгураційне засідання відбулося у лютому 2015 р. в Брюсселі.

Головування у Парламентському комітеті асоціації здійснюється сторонами по черзі, згідно з положеннями, викладеними в його регламенті.

Парламентський Комітет має право запитувати у Ради асоціації інформацію стосовно виконання Угоди про асоціацію та надавати їй свої рекомендації. Парламентський комітет асоціації може створювати відповідні підкомітети.

  • Платформа громадянського суспільства, що покликана сприяти проведенню регулярних засідань представників громадянського суспільства з метою інформування їх про виконання Угоди про асоціацію та врахування їхнього внеску для її виконання.

Платформа громадянського суспільства складається з представників громадянського суспільства України, з однієї сторони, і членів Європейського економічного і соціального комітету (ЄЕСК), з іншої сторони.

Засідання Платформи громадянського суспільства проводяться з регулярністю, яку вона визначає самостійно. Головування у Платформі громадянського суспільства здійснюється по черзі представниками Сторін.

Платформа громадянського суспільства може надавати рекомендації Раді асоціації. Окрім цього, Комітет асоціації та Парламентський комітет асоціації здійснюють регулярні контакти з представниками Платформи громадянського суспільства з метою отримання їхньої думки щодо досягнення цілей Угоди про асоціацію.

Критерії, яким мають відповідати держави-кандидати на вступ до Європейського Союзу (Копенгагенські критерії), були схвалені на засіданні Європейської Ради у Копенгагені у червні 1993 р. і включають в себе:

І) стабільність інститутів, що гарантують демократію, верховенство права, повагу до прав людини, повагу і захист національних меншин (політичні критерії);

ІІ) наявність дієвої ринкової економіки і здатність витримувати конкурентний тиск і дію ринкових сил у межах ЄС (економічні критерії);

ІІІ) здатність узяти на себе зобов’язання, що випливають з членства в ЄС, включаючи суворе дотримання цілей політичного, економічного, валютного союзу (інші критерії).

Політичні критерії

Членство в ЄС під кутом зору політичних стандартів вимагає від держави-кандидата стабільності інститутів, що гарантують демократію, верховенство права, повагу і захист меншин. Статтею 6 Договору про Європейський Союз закріплено, що «Союз базується на принципах свободи, демократії, поваги до прав людини і основних свобод та верховенства права».

Держави, які бажають стати членами ЄС, повинні не лише закріпити принципи демократії і верховенства права у своїх конституціях, але й втілювати їх у повсякденне життя. Конституції держав-заявників мають гарантувати демократичні свободи, включаючи політичній плюралізм, свободу слова і свободу совісті. Вони встановлюють демократичні інститути та незалежні органи правосуддя, органи конституційної юрисдикції, що створює умови для нормального функціонування державних установ, проведення вільних і справедливих виборів, періодичної зміни правлячої парламентської більшості, а також визнання важливої ролі опозиції у політичному житті.

З метою оцінки виконання державами-кандидадати умов членства Європейська Комісія (ЄК) у кожному своєму Висновку виходить за межі формального опису політичних інститутів і відносин між ними. На основі ряду детальних критеріїв вона оцінює, чи має демократія реальний характер. При цьому перевіряється, як захищаються конституційні права і свободи, зокрема, свобода слова в процесі діяльності політичних партій, неурядових організацій і засобів масової інформації.

Економічні критерії

Відповідно до Копенгагенських критеріїв, вимоги до членства у сфері економіки полягають «у наявності як дієвої ринкової економіки, так і здатності витримувати конкурентний тиск і дію ринкових сил у рамках ЄС».

Наявність дієвої ринкової економіки характеризується наступними елементами:

- рівновага між попитом і пропозицією як результат вільної взаємодії ринкових сил;

- лібералізація цін і торгівлі;

- відсутність перешкод для доступу на ринок і виходу з нього;

- наявність достатньої правової бази, включаючи регулювання права власності, виконання законів і контрактів;

- досягнення макроекономічної стабільності, включаючи цінову рівновагу, стабільність державного фінансування та платіжного балансу;

- суспільний консенсус щодо найважливіших питань економічної політики;

- достатня розвиненість фінансового сектору для спрямування збережень на інвестування виробництва.

Критерій здатності витримувати конкурентний тиск і дію ринкових сил у рамках ЄС передбачає:

- наявність дієвої ринкової економіки з достатнім рівнем макроекономічної стабільності, що дає змогу суб’єктам ринку приймати рішення в атмосфері стабільності й передбачуваності;

- достатня кількість людських і матеріальних ресурсів, включаючи інфраструктуру (енергопостачання, телекомунікації, транспорт і ін.), рівень освіти і дослідницької діяльності;

- ступінь впливу урядової політики і законодавства на конкуренцію шляхом проведення торговельної політики, політики конкуренції, надання державної допомоги;

- рівень і темпи інтеграції держави в ЄС перед його розширенням;

- достатня частка малих підприємств у структурі економіки, оскільки малі підприємства отримують вигоду від спрощеного доступу на ринок.

Інші критерії

Європейська Рада дійшла висновку, що держави-кандидати мають бути здатними взяти на себе зобов’язання членства в ЄС у контексті відповідності цілям Договору про Європейський Союз, включаючи політичний, економічний і валютний Союз.

Спільна зовнішня політика і політика у сфері безпеки є головними складовими політичного союзу ЄС.

Важливим сегментом ЄС є Європейський економічний і валютний союз (ЕВС).

Однак слід розрізняти участь у валютному союзі, обов’язковому для усіх членів ЄС, і прийняття євро як єдиної валюти. Від нових членів не вимагається прийняття євро як єдиної валюти, навіть якщо вони беруть участь у ЕВС. Участь у ньому сприятиме розвитку держав-кандидатів, прийняттю у перспективі євро як єдиної валюти для усіх членів ЄС.

Mr. Chairman,

Tengo el honor de hablar en nombre de la Unión Europea y sus Estados Miembros.

Antes que nada, permítanme agradecer afectuosamente a México por albergar esta Primera Conferencia de los Estados Parte del Tratado sobre el Comercio de Armas y por su liderazgo en el proceso de preparación del TCA. También estamos muy agradecidos por asumir la tarea del Secretariado Provisional y por los recursos considerables que han dedicado al proceso. Finalmente, extendemos nuestro agradecimiento al Embajador Lomónaco por la manera tan comprometida con la que ha dirigido este proceso y sus incesantes esfuerzos puestos en él.

The Arms Trade Treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2013 is a robust, balanced and effective text. Recognising that arms trade is legitimate and has to be regulated, it aims at preventing arms from falling into the wrong hands. By doing so, the ATT can truly contribute to peace and security. The ATT is the result of many years of comprehensive and inclusive negotiations achieved across regional boundaries and supported by a vibrant international momentum.

As we are meeting here in Cancun for the first CSP, we are now responsible for bringing this international momentum to fruition by laying the appropriate groundwork for the ATT. This groundwork should be robust, sustainable and cost-efficient based on the decisions that need to be taken on rules of procedure and financial rules, on the Secretariat, and on reporting arrangements. Time and experience may suggest later adjustments, for instance regarding reporting and the actual daily functioning of the Secretariat. But adjustments can only take place on a sound basis.

A lot of expectations have been raised by the adoption and subsequent entry into force of the Treaty. We stand today at the tipping point to deliver and cannot afford to procrastinate. The EU and its Member States stand ready to contribute to the successful outcome of this Conference and to lend their support to its incoming Chair for the task ahead.

 

Mr Chairman,

For the ATT to have a tangible impact, it needs to be effectively implemented by its States parties and to be as universal as possible since regulating international arms transfers is by definition a global ambition. All countries, to one extent or another, are involved in imports, exports, transit or brokering of arms. Arms traffickers are good at identifying and using regulatory loopholes. The difference the Treaty can make is therefore proportionate to its scale of adherence. Yet a large number of the major arms exporters and importers are not party to the ATT. Our decisions and our ability to deliver at this CSP1 will influence also universalisation prospects, both in terms of signatory States ratifying the Treaty and of new States acceding to it.

In support of effective implementation and universalisation of the Treaty, the EU provides a concrete and significant contribution with its dedicated outreach programme. This programme, with a budget of 6.4 million euros, is already active in nine partner countries across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. This is done in partnership with civil society and NGOs whose role to assist in and monitor the implementation of the Treaty is crucial.

Mr Chairman,

Achieving effective implementation and working towards universalisation is no small task. This is why we need to devote our limited resources to this effort now, and to create the appropriate foundations at this CSP. The EU and its Member States are therefore looking forward to the Cancun Conference paving the way for a concrete and smoothly functioning ATT.

Thank you.

Madam Chair,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Iceland, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. The European Union would like to thank the Director General for his report contained in document GOV/2015/53 on Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015), and Deputy Director General, Tero Varjoranta, for the informative technical briefing on 20 August. We would like to express our full support to the Director General and his staff for their dedicated work on this issue.

 

Madam Chair,

3. The EU welcomes the agreement reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between the E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, with the support of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy) and Iran on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is an historic one.

4. The agreement constitutes an important milestone in the long-running diplomatic efforts to reach a comprehensive, long lasting and peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Its full implementation will provide the international community with necessary assurances on the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme and will contribute positively to regional and international peace and security. We call on the international community to support its implementation.

5. The EU notes that by unanimously adopting United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), the Security Council endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and, through the same resolution, requested the Director General of the IAEA to undertake the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments for the full duration of those commitments under the JCPOA, provide his reports in this regard to the Board of Governors and the Security Council and consult and exchange information with the Joint Commission as set out in paragraphs 8, 12 and 13 of the DG’s report in GOV/2015/53.

6. The EU fully supports that the IAEA implements the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran's nuclear-related commitments as set out in the JCPOA, and reports regularly, for the full duration of those commitments in light of this resolution. For the time being, the provisions under the Joint Plan of Action agreed in Geneva in 2013 have been extended to cover the period until "Implementation Day" when the IAEA has verified Iran has carried out the necessary nuclear related commitments.

7. The EU welcomes the "Road-map for the clarification of past and present

outstanding issues regarding Iran's nuclear programme" under the Framework for Cooperation, signed by the IAEA Director General and the Vice-President of Iran and President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran on 14 July 2015. We look forward to the DG's final assessment on the resolution of all past and present outstanding issues by 15 December 2015. We urge Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA, as set out in the Road-map, to make the necessary substantive progress on all outstanding issues, in particular those relating to possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program, including through the organization of technical experts meeting and the implementation of technical measures, as requested by the Agency, by 15 October as set out in the Road-map.

Madam Chair,

8. The EU looks forward to Iran provisionally applying the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement until its subsequent ratification, and the full implementation of the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Agreements to its Safeguards Agreement as set out in the JCPOA. The ratification of the additional protocol will demonstrate Iran’s commitment to the normalisation of the nuclear issue.

9. We note the verification and monitoring activities requested of the Agency will incur costs beyond those provided for in the Regular Budget. Regarding the extra-budgetary voluntary contributions that the Director General says will be needed for the period prior to "Implementation Day" and beyond, the EU and its Member States will consider sympathetically the resource needs of the Agency, where there is insufficient provision in the Regular Budget of the IAEA to cover this work. We continue to welcome financial pledges from other Member States to assist in the Agency's crucial work in this area.

10. With these comments, the EU takes note of the Director General's report GOV/2015/53, and supports the recommended action, as set out in the above-mentioned report.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU.

We very much welcome the initiative taken by the United States and Chile to organise this briefing which brings a specific human rights situation into the focus of the UN Security Council by means of an open meeting in the Arria formula. We have assembled today to hear witness accounts by persons belonging to one of the most forgotten groups of victims of the barbaric acts committed by ISIL/Da'esh, LGBTI individuals.

We are shaken by the compelling testimonies of Subhi Nahas and Adnan and want to praise their courage in speaking out before us today.

The European Union condemns unreservedly all indiscriminate attacks, atrocities, killings and abuses of human rights - such as acts of sexual and gender based violence - which are perpetrated by ISIL/Da'esh and other terrorist groups. These actions in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere are horrific [as we have seen in the videos screened] and cannot go unpunished. The human rights abuses committed are increasing both in the number of victims and in atrocity. They include the vicious and barbaric murder of protected persons, such as civilians and prisoners, sexual violence and abuses against children, women and men as well as, including sexual slavery and child recruitment, as well as extrajudicial executions, violence and persecution of persons on the basis of their religion, beliefs, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. The EU and wider international community must act to help stop these atrocities, support the victims and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

The EU firmly opposes all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Our action plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-19) as well as the EU guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBTI persons continue to underline the importance of our bilateral and multilateral work to make the fact that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights a reality. We would also like to take the opportunity to pay a special tribute to human rights defenders and civil society –and thank today's briefer, the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission- for their tremendous commitment and tireless efforts in documenting human rights violations and abuses.

Let me end by reiterating the steadfast commitment of the EU – as member of the UN LGBT core group- to continue fighting violence and discrimination against LGBTI persons no matter where they are.

Thank you.

1. The European Union once again recalls that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk package of implementation measures. We underline that Russia bears responsibility for the health, wellbeing and observance of the human rights of all the persons it detains.

2. We call on Russia to respect its international commitments and release without further delay all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia and on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula, including Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko.

3. The transfer of the trials of Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov, and Oleksandr Kolchenko to the Rostov region of Russia significantly hampers access to the court for observers. We note that the trial of Nadiya Savchenko was adjourned at the first hearing of the case in the small border town of Donetsk on 30 July to consider an appeal to conduct the trial in Moscow.

4. The EU through its Delegation and Member State embassies in the Russian Federation was present at the hearing in the Savchenko case on 30 July and is present in Rostov-on-Don today to monitor the trial of Sentsov and Kolchenko. We will continue to follow these cases very closely.

1. The European Union warmly welcomes SMM Chief Monitor Apakan back to the Permanent Council. We remain fully supportive of the SMM's impartial and objective reporting and its efforts to de-escalate the crisis in and around Ukraine.

2. Mr Chairman, today's meeting is very timely given the escalation of fighting in parts of eastern Ukraine as a result of attacks on Starohnativka, Sartana, and other government-controlled areas, with several casualties, including civilians. We would like to hear more about Ambassador Apakan’s assessment of the situation. We are also deeply concerned about information of heavy fighting near Donetsk. This violates the spirit and the letter of the Minsk agreements. All appropriate measures to protect civilians must be taken in full respect of international humanitarian law. The Minsk agreements must be fully implemented in good faith based on OSCE principles and commitments, starting with full observation of the ceasefire and genuine withdrawal of heavy weapons. Foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries must be removed from the territory of Ukraine. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. We expect further progress in the talks within the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE Chairmanship and its subordinate working groups, allowing for complete implementation of the Minsk Agreements within the agreed timeframe by the end of the year.

3. The safety of SMM monitors remains of paramount importance. We are deeply concerned that the recent escalation of fighting has coincided with several incidents which have threatened the SMM and its work. This includes the monitors caught in cross-fire in Shchastya and Shyrokyne, reports of aggressive and threatening behaviour towards SMM monitors, and the arson attack on SMM vehicles in separatist-controlled Donetsk on 9 August. We strongly condemn all restrictions, threats and attacks on the SMM. This endangers the crucial role that the SMM plays in monitoring and verifying the implementation of the Minsk agreements, which is the basis for a sustainable solution of the conflict in full respect of Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We welcome the mitigating measures which the SMM has taken in response to recent incidents. All sides have been reminded again of their responsibilities and we stress the importance of this message being clearly articulated through all levels of command, in particular to personnel at checkpoints.

4. We are deeply concerned that the SMM's access continues to be restricted despite repeated commitments to ensure the freedom of movement of the SMM made by all sides. We note in particular that access remains fully or partly restricted in parts of separatist-controlled territory. The systematic jamming of SMM UAVs is unacceptable. We call on all sides to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for SMM monitors and UAVs to all parts of Ukraine, including to the Crimean peninsula and along the border with Russia. We also once again call on all parties to provide the SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. We would be grateful if the Chief Monitor could elaborate on how he aims to improve the SMM's communication strategy to mitigate the risk of incidents with the local population and deliberate misrepresentation of the SMM’s role and mandate.

5. We commend the efforts of the SMM to facilitate local ceasefires and demilitarisation on the ground, including the facilitation of repair work on water infrastructure between Maiorsk and Horlivka. We also commend the efforts of the SMM Chief Monitor as coordinator of the working group on security under the Trilateral Contact Group. We regret that final agreement has not been reached on the concrete proposals discussed in the working group. We call on all sides to strengthen their efforts and to show the necessary political will to allow for concrete results at the next meeting which should take place as soon as possible.

6. The European Union welcomes the invitation by the Ukrainian government for OSCE/ODIHR to monitor local elections in Ukraine. ODIHR has issued a budget revision proposal, which aims at providing for the necessary financial means to monitor local elections according to Verkhovna Rada decision of 17 July, as well as in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as foreseen in the Minsk agreements. It is imperative that a decision is taken now, so that election monitoring in accordance with OSCE standards can take place. At the same time, we hope that talks in the political working group under the Trilateral Contact Group, scheduled for today, will bring progress concerning the local elections to be held in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

7. We continue to regret that so-called 'humanitarian convoys' from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed. We note with concern a pattern of intensified military activities of the separatists, usually following the arrival of the so-called 'humanitarian convoys' from Russia.

8. Mr Chairman, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland‡, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Andorra and San Marino.]

2. Let me begin by assuring you of the European Union’s full support and cooperation. The EU expresses its appreciation to you, Mr Chairman, and to the Executive Secretary and the PTS for presenting written and oral reports, and for the dedicated work in preparing this meeting.

 

Mr Chairman,

3. I would like to reaffirm that the EU is committed to the objectives of the CTBT through further efforts to achieve universalization and the entry into force, and strengthening the CTBTO verification regime.

4. The Integrated Field Exercise 2014 marked a key milestone in the development of the verification regime and was a major step for further advancing towards OSI operational readiness. We commend the Executive Secretary, the PTS staff, the Jordanian authorities and all international experts involved in the exercise for a job well done.

5. The EU attaches particular importance to a thorough evaluation of the Exercise. In this context, we take note of the progress in the evaluation process and expect that the external evaluation team's detailed technical and high-level findings, as well as the results of the OSI Workshop 22, will play a leading role in shaping the future OSI Action

Plan that will focus on the priority actions needed to further develop operational OSI capabilities.

6. The EU encourages the PTS to continue exploring all options to find an efficient and cost effective solution to the CTBTO's Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility (ESMF) as soon as possible. We believe that a long-term solution must be found urgently for this issue taking into account the unique requirements of the OSI Division. Any interim arrangements must preserve the equipment that the PTS currently owns in a viable condition and for ready use in further training and development exercises.

7. We look forward to the discussions on Radio-xenon emissions during this Working Group, an understanding of which will be crucial to maintaining the effectiveness of the verification regime in the coming years. We welcome the wide participation in the Workshop on Signature of Medical and Industrial Isotope Production (WOSMIP) held in Brussels earlier this year, as well as the CTBTO's Science and Technology Conference, and hope that this work will lead to improvements in the verification regime. The EU will continue to be a strong supporter of such work.

 

Mr Chairman,

8. It is of the utmost importance that the investments already made in the CTBTO verification regime are protected and sustained, that the installations under way are completed, and the stations built are certified. We remain entirely supportive of the IMS installation and certification programme for 2015 and 2016. In the light of recent positive developments and factors in the establishment of the IMS network, the EU encourages further efforts in improving the International Monitoring System. Station reliability is essential. Thanks to the progress made in these fields, it is now harder than ever for any State to conduct a nuclear explosive test without being detected by the

International Monitoring System.

9. The EU supports efforts to increase data availability, and we call on State Signatories to provide data to the CTBTO from all of the installed stations that they host. Furthermore, we encourage the use of the abbreviated procedures to enable data to flow into IDC provisional operations from installed IMS stations, in parallel with certification procedures. We believe that all tools that minimise data downtime and ensure that the network develops in a sustainable and cost effective manner should be strengthened.

10. The European Union is pleased with the progress being made on Phase 5b of the IDC and we look forward to working together on this subject, as well as, to the results of the IDC Phase 2 Software Re-engineering Workshop. We are pleased to note that the timeliness of the Reviewed Radionuclide Reports has improved and that the Reviewed Event Bulletins now meet the provisional Operation and Maintenance Guidelines. We further encourage the PTS to continue to ensure that the quality and timeliness of the Reviewed Products are upheld. Finally, we would also encourage preparation for Global Communications Infrastructure 3 (GCI3), and look forward to the discussions on this topic during this session of WGB.

11. Last June's CTBT Science and Technology Conference provided an important opportunity in further building and strengthening the CTBTO’s relationship with the scientific and research community. We were pleased to see the participation of a broad community of scientists, technologists, academics, representatives of signatory states as well as non-signatory states involved in research and development in areas relevant to the Treaty’s verification regime. We would be interested in ideas from the PTS or States Signatories for ways to encourage participation of experts who attended in future sessions of the CTBTO, particularly those from developing countries. We were

particularly happy to see the presence of a large number of young scientists, out of which ten research project award fellows and one academic fellow were funded by EU Council Decision V. We commend the PTS for organising this conference and would support similar events in the future.

Finally, Mr Chairman,

12. The European Union was pleased to note the progress in the implementation of the 2015 work programme of Working Group B, in particular through the intersessional reports of the Chair, and supports efforts towards its completion in due course. The successful realisation of the 2015 work programme will also create favourable conditions for the adoption and implementation of a WGB work programme beyond 2015. We are pleased to support your actions and initiatives towards smooth and effective progress of WGB.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

While we celebrate today the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, we take stock of the progress achieved towards ending all forms of discrimination and in ensuring that indigenous peoples' rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.

In September of last year, the EU contributed to the success of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and promoted equal participation of indigenous peoples in preparation of this meeting. We supported the Outcome Document of the conference which serves as a blueprint for actions at international and national level, bringing positive changes to the lives of indigenous peoples.

As follow up to the World Conference, the EU is further developing its policy in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and in close consultation with their representatives.

Despite the many positive examples of progress achieved around the world, indigenous peoples, particularly women and girls, continue to experience multiple forms of discrimination, vulnerability and marginalisation in their lives. We are therefore committed to their empowerment.

By reaffirming its support to the UN declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the EU restates its determination to work closely with indigenous peoples, along with other partners and stakeholders in its endeavour to promote the recognition that human rights are equally guaranteed to all men and women.

Mr Chairman,

On behalf of the European Union, let me congratulate you on your appointment as President of the 2015 Meetings and assure you of our full support and cooperation.

[Aligning clause]

 

Mr. Chairman,

The development of life sciences brings good solutions for humanity but the threat emanating from the possible misuse of biological materials as weapons continues to pose substantial challenges to international peace and security. Therefore, it is crucial that all States not yet parties join the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). It is also in this light that the EU and its Member States have engaged constructively in the current inter-sessional process by contributing Working Papers and presentations aimed at promoting common understandings and effective action on the topics and issues under review.

Substantive working documents were submitted at the last meeting of experts regarding the biennial item on how to strengthen the implementation of Article VII. The cross-regional interest in this topic shows that there is room for a substantive discussion and for the identification of specific areas for work, which could be reflected in the report of the meeting of States Parties, for further consideration at the next Review Conference. The EU and its Member States note that improving national capabilities for disease surveillance, detection and diagnosis and public health systems provides the first line of defence against cases of alleged use if biological and toxin weapons. In discussions on making Article VII operational, we need to take into account relevant actions that are being taken elsewhere, especially in the WHO, to build effective response capabilities to deal with future major outbreaks of infectious disease.

Let me take this opportunity to welcome the participation of numerous renowned life scientists in the work of our meeting: they make a significant contribution to mutual understanding with governmental officials and policy makers, including by their involvement in global actions, such as raising awareness of dual use, especially among students and young scientists. This is a key part of the work on the standing agenda items on science and technology as well as on national implementation.

 

Mr. Chairman,

In the past decade, the EU and its Member States have funded numerous projects in support of the BTWC. The EU is about to finalize a new Council Decision in support of the BTWC, in the framework of the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Under this new decision, the EU will support the following projects:

(1) Promoting universal adherence to the BTWC by encouraging States not party to better understand the benefits of joining the Convention and getting more involved in BTWC meetings and other activities; (2) Enhancing interaction with non-governmental stakeholders on Science and technology and Biosafety & Biosecurity; (3) Developing national capacities for BTWC implementation – in particular in developing countries and on areas such as Articles VII and X – by improving the quality and quantity of declarations submitted under the Confidence-Building Measures system in order to enhance confidence in compliance with the Convention; (4) Supporting the inter-sessional programme and the preparations for the Eighth Review Conference; (5) Strengthening the United Nations Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical, Biological and Toxin Weapons; (6) Enabling tools for awareness-raising, education and engagement.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU and its Member States are engaged in supporting improvements in bio-safety and bio-security around the globe; through the expertise of WHO we support projects aimed at promoting bio-risk awareness, laboratory bio-risk management and development of national laboratory strategies to counter biological risks and enhance the core facilities. The EU has made continued efforts aiming at developing Centres of Excellence, mobilising resources to develop coherent and adequate CBRN policies. Current projects are focused at knowledge development and transfer of best practices on bio-safety, bio-security and bio-risk management, strengthening laboratory procedures, development of laboratory ISO-bank system, creation of an international network of universities and institutes to raise awareness on the dual-use dimension of biotechnology. The Global Partnership, as well as initiatives such as the Global Health Security Agenda, are helpful in addressing and improving global responses to health security threats.

As part of their concrete efforts to strengthen confidence in compliance with the BTWC, the EU and its Member States promote measures aimed at increasing the quality and relevance of CBM submissions. CBMs represent a unique instrument to help increase mutual trust, generate transparency and thus help demonstrate compliance with the Convention: all States Parties are obliged to submit their returns each year. With the financial support of the EU, the ISU has developed a CBM electronic facility. We must continue to work to make the CBM process as effective as possible.

Effective national implementation is fundamental for the integrity of the Convention. The current inter-sessional process offers also an opportunity to identify innovative approaches, to enhance national implementation through voluntary exchanges of information, such as the proposed peer-review mechanism.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

On 2 July 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1066[1] amending Decision 2013/183/CFSP.

The Council Decision expands the list of persons and entities, as set out in Annex II to Decision 2013/183/CFSP.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.



[1]Published on 3.7.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 174, p. 25.

On 13 July 2015, the Council adopted Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2015/1142[1] implementing Council Decision 2012/642/CFSP.

The Decision amends the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures as set out in the Annex to Decision 2012/642/CFSP.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.



[1]Published on 14.7.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 185, p. 20.

En dépit des efforts de la communauté internationale, et en particulier de l'initiative récente du Président Museveni en vue de faciliter un dialogue inter-burundais, il apparait évident que les progrès dans la mise en œuvre des décisions de l'Union africaine du 13 juin et de la Communauté d'Afrique de l'est du 6 juillet sont insuffisants. Seule la mise en œuvre complète de ces décisions aurait ouvert la voie à la tenue d'élections crédibles et inclusives au Burundi dont le résultat serait représentatif. En maintenant les élections le Gouvernement en a décidé autrement.

En l'absence d'un dialogue national substantiel qui pourrait conduire à un consensus politique, le Burundi ne parviendra pas à retrouver le chemin de la stabilité, de la démocratie et du développement qui a commencé avec l'adoption de l'Accord d'Arusha. Dès lors, l'UE commencera les travaux préparatoires des consultations spécifiques comme prévu à l'Article 96 de l'Accord de Cotonou, afin de faire en sorte que le gouvernement burundais prenne les engagements qui s'imposent pour remédier à la crise. Le respect des droits de l'homme, des principes démocratiques et de l'Etat de droit sont les éléments fondateurs de la relation de coopération entre l'UE et le Burundi qui est régi par l'Accord de Cotonou.

L'UE exhorte le gouvernement, ainsi que les partis d'opposition, à revenir au dialogue pour trouver une issue consensuelle en vue du rétablissement d'un système politique inclusif et démocratique. L'UE appuie pleinement les efforts déployés dans ce sens par la Communauté de l'Afrique de l'Est, par l'Union Africaine et par les Nations Unies.

L'impact humanitaire, socio-économique et sécuritaire de la crise dans le pays et sur la région préoccupe grandement l'Union européenne. Dans ce contexte, nous saluons l'envoi par l'Union africaine d'observateurs de droits de l'homme, et d'experts militaires pour superviser le désarmement des groupes affiliés aux partis politiques. L'Union européenne salue la générosité des pays voisins dans l'accueil des réfugiés du Burundi et réaffirme sa solidarité avec le peuple burundais et les communautés d'accueil, entre autres à travers la mobilisation de l'aide humanitaire pour les milliers de réfugiés.

L'UE rappelle que la violence ne peut être utilisée à des fins politiques et appelle une fois de plus toutes les parties prenantes et les leaders politiques à la condamner et à la décourager. Ceci comprend notamment les actions menées par les groupes armés, telles que les attaques qui ont eu lieu récemment dans la province de Kayanza. L'Union européenne se prépare, en ligne avec les conclusions du Conseil de juin 2015, à adopter, le cas échéant, des mesures restrictives ciblées contre ceux dont l'action aurait conduit ou conduirait à des actes de violence et de répression, à de graves violations des droits de l'Homme, et/ou entraverait la recherche d'une solution politique.

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.

[Alignment paragraph]

I would like to thank the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his briefing. I would also like to acknowledge the important contributions presented today by the Prime Ministers of Samoa and Jamaica and the Minister of Finance of the Seychelles sharing the respective regional perspectives of the peace and security challenges faced by Small Island Developing States. We also welcome the participation of the Prime Minister of Aruba and his statement.

Mr. President,

We welcome the initiative by New Zealand to convene this meeting to address the security challenges facing SIDS, a topic that shows the relevance and the complex interlinkages between stability, security and global defies. I would like to add that our discussion of the SIDS’ challenges should consider both independent states and those overseas territories administered by other states (including some EU member states) which face a common set of challenges.

The unique and particular vulnerabilities of SIDS have been acknowledged by the international community, lastly at the 3rd international conference on SIDS held in Samoa last September. It is clear that these vulnerabilities of various nature can impact their stability and in some cases security challenges, because of their small size and remoteness, because of the nature of their economy and limited capacity of their public administration, or because of their exposure to natural disasters - which have increased in intensity and have been exacerbated by climate change, the most significant challenge of all for many SIDS.This catalogue of challenges breeds a level of instability that threatens security beyond the borders of SIDS themselves.

The S.A.M.O.A. Pathway acknowledges SIDS' unique and particular vulnerabilities, while offering many tools to address them. In implementing the Pathway, the international community, including the strong partnership between EU and SIDS,will continue to deliver on the promise of sustainable development through an integrated, balanced and rights based approach.

Many SIDS continue to be dramatically affected by natural and other disasters leading to loss of lives and livelihoods and significant economic, social and environmental costs. Most recent, Cyclone Pam showed us the dramatic impact of a natural disaster on development and human security, in particular when combined with remoteness and geographical specificities. The Sendai Framework firmly anchors risk management as a key element of sustainable development and takes into account SIDS vulnerabilities. The EU is, thus, reorienting its support to make resilience a priority in cooperation with countries most vulnerable to natural disasters and will work with SIDS to better integrate risk management and resilience into their policies and strategies

We must continue our efforts to avoid the negative impact of climate change, which is threatening not only the survival of some SIDS, but is also challenging their access to key resources, such as water or fisheries. As just discussed in the Open Arria-Formula meeting of the Security Council initiated by Spain on the role of climate change as a threat multiplier for global security, it is widely acknowledged that climate change triggers humanitarian crises, as well as political and economic instability tensions and "climate -induced" migration. Shrinking natural resources may exacerbate tensions and potentially lead to conflict and, in turn, to displacement. The international community will have to prepare for such a situation, which, in some cases, could turn into a grim legal, humanitarian and security issue, as some displaced people will have no place to return to, with their lands and houses already swept away by the ocean. It is in this context that EU and SIDS will continue to work towards the shared objective of addressing climate change at global level. The moment to act ambitiously is now. We need to get a universal, fair, ambitious and balanced legally-binding international climate agreement in Paris later this year. An agreement that ensures that the world remains on track to keep global warming below 2°C is absolutely necessary to limit the risks predicted by science, and of which SIDS would be - or I should say already are - the first victims.

We would also welcome an update of the 2009 Secretary-General report "Climate Change and Its Possible Security Implications".

Mr. President,

As you have rightly pointed out in your concept note, SIDS can be also easily affected by the trafficking of drugs, small arms and persons, as well as by piracy. Many small islands have to cope with trafficking and transit in hundreds of ports, marinas and harbours complemented by major cargo and cruise ship terminals and facilities for the handling and shipping of, inter alia, petroleum, natural gas and ammonia. Law enforcement agencies within SIDS often lack the capabilities and resources needed to address these challenges and the corruption that drives, enables and perpetuates criminality. Crime and security is an EU priority area for the cooperation in Caribbean region and constitutes a successful area for partnerships in the Indian Ocean. We closely cooperate with the Caribbean nations on the fight against drug trafficking and international criminal networks. In order to support region's efforts to increase security, governance and the rule of law, the EU adopted in July 2014 a comprehensive Citizen Security Strategy for the Caribbean and Central America. The Action Plan for this strategy, adopted on 8 June 2015, focuses on building a shared political agenda on citizen security, strengthening the ability of governments to deliver quality public services in the area of security through capacity building, and fostering international cooperation on these operational activities.

Security and economic development of SIDS is impacted by the illicit exploitation of natural resources, in particular fisheries. It remains crucial to implement existing international commitments that strengthen oceans governance rules, notably in the context of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Moreover, the EU is cooperating with a number of SIDS countries on the fight against illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU)fishing by promoting measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing, strengthening legal frameworks and fisheries management plans, promoting improved fisheries management and sustainable management of fishing resources.The EU concluded Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements with 7 SIDS countries and have renewed or reinforced cooperation in this area in the Pacific Ocean through the DEVFISH2 programme and in the Indian Ocean with the SMARTFISH2 programme and plans to extend these programmes to Western Africabenefiting SIDS there.

Mr. President,

All above mentioned security risks and vulnerabilities are interrelated, which constitutes in itself an additional threat to stability, and must be addressed in a comprehensive and collaborative way. They equally require the involvement of all actors and concerned stakeholders. The EU remains a strong advocate of effective multilateralism. When necessary, in particular due to poor administrative capacity, burden-sharing and assistance, including financial, should be channelled to support the national implementation of the multilateral undertakings.

I thank you.

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

 

[alignment paragraph]

Mr. President,

The EU reaffirms its commitment to a just and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the two state solution, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign, and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition. We reaffirm that there is no alternative to a negotiated two state solution. The regional context, including the ongoing radicalisation and spread of terrorism, makes it even more urgent to end the conflict. The status-quo is not an option, as the viability of the two-state solution is constantly being eroded by new facts on the ground. We urge both parties to demonstrate their stated commitment to the two-state solution through concrete actions. Actions by either side which call into question their stated commitment to a negotiated solution must be avoided. The EU will actively support the parties to restore confidence and create an environment of trust necessary to engage in meaningful negotiations as soon as possible.

An immediate priority must be to address the grave situation in the Gaza Strip. One year after the conflict, the humanitarian and socio-economic situation in the Gaza Strip remains dire. In light of the urgent needs of the people in Gaza, all international community pledges should be honoured. We furthermore express our concern over UNRWA's severe lack of funds and, as a leading donor to UNRWA, we call on all concerned donors to step up their funding.

The EU believes that compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law by states and non-state actors, including accountability, is a cornerstone for peace and security in the region.

We welcome recent steps taken by Israel to ease restrictions in Gaza. However, further positive measures are now needed that enable the full delivery of humanitarian aid, reconstruction and economic recovery on a permanent basis. We call for a fundamental change of the political, security and economic situation in the Gaza Strip, including the end of the closure and a full opening of the crossing points, while addressing Israel's legitimate security concerns. Recent rocket fire by militant groups is unacceptable and underlines again the danger of escalation. All stakeholders must commit to non-violence and peace. We call on all parties to agree on a durable ceasefire that prevents a return to conflict, strengthens Gaza, as it is an integral part of a future Palestinian state, and reinforces the link between Gaza and the West Bank.

The EU urges all Palestinian factions to find common ground, based on non-violence and reconciliation, and to work together to address the needs of the Palestinian population. Intra-Palestinian reconciliation is an important element for reaching the two-state solution. In that regard, we call on the Palestinian factions to make reconciliation and the return of the PA to Gaza a top priority. The PA must take greater responsibility in this regard and assume its government function in the Gaza Strip, including in the field of security, civil administration and through its presence at the Gaza crossing points. The EU is ready to provide full support to these efforts, including through the rapid reactivation and possible extension in scope and mandate of its EUBAM Rafah and EUPOL COPPS missions.

Mr. President,

We are committed to working with all sides, including through implementation of existing agreements, to allow the socio-economic development of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and empower Palestinian institutions in preparation for statehood, based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. We stress that actions such as the easing of restrictions must be part of a fundamental change of policy with regard to the occupied Palestinian territory. We call on Israel to enable accelerated Palestinian construction, as well as social and economic development in Area C. Such actions will serve to strengthen the prosperity and security of both Israelis and Palestinians. We further call on Israeli authorities to halt plans for forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure in the Susya and Abu Nwar communities.

The preservation of the viability of the two-state solution is at the core of EU policy and will remain a priority. In this regard, and recalling that settlements are illegal under international law, the EU reiterates its strong opposition to Israel's settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, demolitions and confiscation - including of EU funded projects - evictions, forced transfers including of Bedouins, illegal outposts, settler violence and restrictions of movement and access. These actions seriously threaten the two-state solution. Settlement activity in East Jerusalem seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both states. We will continue to closely monitor developments on the ground and their broader implications and remain ready to take further action in order to protect the viability of the two-state solution. The EU and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. We express our commitment to ensure that - in line with international law - all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

Securing a just and lasting peace will require an increased common international effort. The EU, notably through the action of its recently appointed Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, will work actively on a renewed multilateral approach to the peace process in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including partners in the Quartet, notably the US, in the region and the United Nations Security Council. The establishment of an International support group is a possible way to contribute to this end. The EU's position on parameters, as set out in the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of July 2014, provides a basis for achieving consensus on the way forward. The EU is ready to engage in joint work with regional partners on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative, and welcomes ongoing efforts of the Quartet in this regard.

 

Mr President,

The conflict in Syria has entered its fifth year and the human suffering it has caused and it continues to cause is immense. A lasting solution to this conflict is urgently required. In this framework, we have fully supported and we will continue to fully support the efforts of UN Special Envoy de Mistura to revive a political process.

The EU has contributed to the "Geneva consultations" and we hope that those talks will help launch a Syrian-led inclusive political process leading to a transition, based on the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, and in line with relevant UNSC Resolutions in order to maintain the country's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Our ultimate objective is to help build a democratic and pluralistic Syria where the human rights of all persons are protected and all Syrians, includingminorities and vulnerable groups, are included. We are determined to support all efforts to this end.

This political approach is at the heart of the 'EU regional strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the ISIL/Da'esh threat' which was adopted in March 2015 and is currently being implemented. Da'esh poses a complex terrorist threat to Syria, to the entire region but also to Europe. We all know that military action alone is not sufficient to defeat Da'esh. In Iraq, the EU is working and will continue to work closely with theGovernment, supporting it as much as we can in its efforts to restore inclusive governance and stability. In Syria, an inclusive political transition is crucial to sustainable peace and stability: the fight against Da'esh and other terrorist groups must be conducted in parallel with the search for lasting political solutions. All member states, in accordance with resolutions 2170 and 2178, should take decisive action to stop the flow of foreign fighters, counter ISIL/Dae'sh financing, and combat its incitement.

The Assad regime's brutal war against its own people, massive human rights violations, and systematic obstruction against democratic reforms have contributed to the flourishing of ISIL/Da'esh in Syria. As a consequence of its policies and actions, the Assad regime cannot be a partner in the fight against Da'esh.

The UN, centred on the Security Council, will have a key role. Specifically, UNSCR 2170 and UNSCR 2178 call on all member states to take decisive action to stop the flow of foreign fighters, counter ISIL/Da'esh financing, and combat its incitement. We should actively support countries implementing these and related UNSC resolutions. We must continue to engage in relevant GCTF initiatives.

 

Mr. President,

More than 220,000 Syrians have been killed and more than half of the population is displaced. Peace will remain elusive in Syria, so long as impunity reigns.The EU therefore reiterates the need to hold perpetrators of violations and abuses to account: justice and accountability must be included in the political process from the outset.

In a letter dated 18 June, 71 countries, including all EU Member States, expressed their outrage at the never ending state of unchecked brutality in Syria, in particular by the systematic use of barrel bombs. The Arria formula meeting convened by France and Spain on 26 June 2015 showed clearly to this Council and to all members of the United Nations the terrible toll exacted on civilians by the widespread use of barrel bombs by the Assad regime. As it was highlighted in that meeting, the use of barrel bombs has no military value and its only goal is to terrorize the civilian population. We strongly condemn these indiscriminate attacks, as well as continued besiegement of civilian areas, the starvation of civilians as a method of combat and the arbitrary detention and torture of thousands of Syrians. We believe it is high time for this Council to follow-up on its own resolutions, including resolution 2139, 2165 and 2191, and to take decisive action to put an end to these on-going violations of international law and of UNSC resolutions.

We are equally concerned about frequent reports for more than a year now thattoxic chemicals such as chlorine have been used as a chemical weapon in Syria. The use ofchlorine gas as a weaponis a violation ofthe Chemical Weapons Convention as well as UNSC Resolutions 2118 (2013) and 2209 (2015). Both resolutions foresaw further measures under Chapter VII in case of non-compliance. We stress once again that those responsible for such inhumaneacts must be held accountable and strongly support the initiative within this Council to establish an attribution mechanism through an OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism. [To be updated in case a resolution is adopted]

 

Mr President,

The EU is determined to continue supporting the Syrians and the refugee-hosting countries in the regionaffected by the crisis. Humanitarian aid and longer term assistance are and will remain important pillars of the EU's response to the crisis in Syria and in the neighbouring countries.

Overall, more than EUR 3.7 billion was mobilized by the EU since the outbreak of the Syria crisis. At the Kuwait III Conference of 31 March 2015, the European Union and its Member States pledged close to EUR 1.1 Billion.

In Syria, we note with serious concern that humanitarian needs continue to rise while access to vulnerable people faces an increasing number of constraints. We call on all parties, in particular the Assad regime, to implement in full the provisions of the UNSC Resolutions 2139, 2165 and 2191.

The countries in the region, in particularLebanon, Jordan and Turkey, have made and continue to makeconsiderable efforts to shelter and offer protection to Syrian refugees. We commend the generosity of those countries and we fully recognize the economic and social impact of this situation. In particular, the EU remains fully aware of the immense security challenges that the crisis poses to Lebanon and Jordan. The response to this protracted crisis cannot be sustained through humanitarian response only. There is a need for a longer term / resilience-based response supporting neighbouring countries capacities to provide services and opportunities (access to labour market, to national education and health systems, etc.) for Syrian refugees. We also reiterate the importance of ensuring that humanitarian concerns are addressed by applying international standards on the protection of refugees.

Enhanced burden sharing between countries in the region and international partners is necessary inline with the principles of the "Berlin declaration". The EU remains committed to sustain its support to the countries and the people affected by this crisis and calls on all international partners to enhance also the level and predictability of their respective support.

Thank you, Mr. President!

1. The European Union welcomes this week’s meetings in the working groups under the auspices of the Trilateral Contact Group, as well as some progress made in the discussions. The European Union reiterates its strong support to the work of the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship and encourages the parties to meet on a weekly basis, also independently of the working groups. The Trilateral Contact Group must continue to play an essential role in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. In this regard we reiterate our support for the efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

2. Mr Chairman, we express our deep concern about the escalation of violence in and around Donetsk and Avdiivka over the weekend, which has claimed the lives of several civilians. We stress that the ceasefire must be respected by all sides and that restraint is needed to de-escalate the situation and avoid the loss of innocent lives. The presence, movement and use of heavy weapons in violation of the Minsk agreements are also of major concern. We note in this context that SMM’s UAVs continue to observe large concentrations of military hardware in and around Komsomolske, and the SMM noted an apparent link in the logistical supply-chain underpinning military operations, as stated in the most recent weekly report. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts to promote a sustainable political resolution.

3. We repeat our call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honour their commitments. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full.

4. We once again commend the SMM’s impartial and objective reporting. We note with deep concern from the SMM’s reports that the mission continues to face restrictions in its monitoring activities, in particular that access remains fully or partly restricted in large swaths of separatist-controlled territory. The systematic jamming of SMM UAVs over large swaths of “DPR”-controlled areas is also of great concern. We call on all sides to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for SMM monitors and UAVs to all parts of Ukraine, including to the Crimean peninsula and along the border with Russia.

5. The European Union expresses its concern regarding the humanitarian impact of the on-going crisis in parts of eastern Ukraine and note in particular from the SMM’s reports that the “DPR” and “LPR” seem “slow to provide for the most basic human and societal needs” in areas under their control. The Minsk package foresees that humanitarian aid will be delivered through an international mechanism. An agreement on this in the humanitarian working group remains crucial. We deeply regret that so-called “humanitarian convoys” from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

6. We welcome last Thursday’s vote by large majority of the Verkhovna Rada comprising coalition and opposition MPs, paving the way for constitutional change enabling decentralisation as well as further necessary reform of the prosecution. The amendments voted for contain an enabling clause for a specific procedure of self-government in certain administrative units in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in line with the recommendation of the Venice Commission. This is important for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. We look forward to the final approval of these amendments by September, ahead of the planned local elections the 25th October. The EU considers constitutional reform a key element of the on-going reform process in Ukraine and an important aspect of a political resolution of the conflict.

7. Mr Chairman, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

[Alignment Paragraph]

1. The European Union recalls that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk Package of implementation measures.

2. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and immediately release all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens without further delay. This includes Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, and all other Ukrainian citizens who are being illegally detained in Russia and on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula.

3. This Tuesday, we monitored the first day of the trials of Mr. Sentsov and Mr. Kolchenko in Rostov and we will continue doing so. As we said last week, the decision by the Russian authorities on 13 July to hold Nadiya Savchenko’s trial in the small border town of Donetsk, in the Rostov region of Russia, is of great concern. We are equally concerned that the trials of Mr. Sentsov and Mr. Kolchenko are held in Rostov as well. This could significantly hamper access to the court for observers. Reports that Ms. Savchenko, whose trial is the small border town of Donetsk, also in the Rostov region, is facing up to 25 years in prison are extremely concerning.

4. We underline that Russia bears responsibility for the health, wellbeing and observance of the human rights of all the persons it illegally detains.

[Alignment paragraph]

1. The European Union welcomes the Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council of Turkic speaking states, H.E. Ramil Hasanov, and the Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic speaking countries (TURKPA), H.E. Jandos Asanov, to the Permanent Council and thanks them for their addresses.

2. The EU would like to recall its support for the co-operation between the OSCE and other International Organisations that share its values, on the basis of the 1999 Platform for Co-operative Security and taking into account the added value they can bring to the work of our Organisation. In particular, the Platform aims at developing and maintaining political and operational coherence among various bodies operating in the OSCE area.

3. In this context, the European Union would like to reiterate its resolve to promote the implementation of the provisions of the Platform for Co-operative Security with a view to maximising the effectiveness of the OSCE. We are convinced of the need to further develop a mutually reinforcing relationship between the OSCE and those organisations and institutions that can contribute to the promotion of comprehensive security within the OSCE area and that fully respects and is aimed at furthering the implementation of our OSCE commitments.

4. In conclusion, we would like to thank once again H.E. Ramil Hasanov, and H.E. Jandos Asanov for their addresses.

[Alignment Paragraph]

1. The Member States of the European Union thank the Secretary General for presenting the 2014 Annual Report on the implementation of OSCE recruitment policies to the Permanent Council. We attach great value to the guiding principles of the OSCE recruitment process and we consider the information presented to us today to be very useful.

2. We welcome the efforts undertaken that aim to secure high standards of efficiency, competence and integrity among OSCE staff while preserving broad geographical diversity across the whole OSCE as well as improving the gender balance within the Organisation. However, further efforts are required to address the under-representation of women at the middle and senior management levels. We would appreciate more information on initiatives that have been taken by DHR to further promote broad representation, as mentioned in the report.

3. We take note of the fact that contracted posts attracted more applications and believe that they remain competitive, given that applications increased in 2014. We realise that the current secondment system remains under stress and should be improved, but that it worked well for the staffing needs in the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. In that regard we would be grateful for an update on whether DHR plan to take forward the “Serveto” project, to allow direct application to the OSCE.

4. We would like to mention our appreciation for the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Programme which gives young professionals an excellent opportunity for working experience in the OSCE.

5. We value the continued efforts to seek new ideas and ways to improve recruitment practices in light of the Organisation´s changing requirements and needs. In this sense, we look forward to studying further proposals as outlined in the report under the chapter ‘the way forward’. We underline the need to uphold a professional, transparent recruitment process from start to finish, including timely notification of candidates and feedback. We also encourage the Secretariat to take a pragmatic approach in the review of vacancy notices, to ensure they are appropriate for the level of the job, and not so prescriptive as to deter potentially suitable candidates.

6. We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our concern, raised most recently during the Programme Outline discussions, at difficulties with regard to cross-cutting budgetary issues, in particular, increases in staff standard costs, at a time when significant cuts to such costs have been implemented in many participating States. We believe that preserving programmatic activities is paramount in the on-going context of limited resources available to the Organisation.

7. We commend once again the speedy deployment of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, which demonstrated both the relevance and the effectiveness of the Organisation to respond swiftly to conflict situations when mandated to do so.

8. Finally, we would like to express our appreciation for the valuable work of the Secretary General and the Department of Human Resources.

[Alignment Paragraph]

17 July is the day which the States Parties to the Rome Statute have designated as the Day of International Criminal Justice. This day unites all those who wish to support justice, stand up for victims' rights, and help prevent crimes that threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world.

Justice for the victims of serious international crimes can only be fully achieved if the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice and held to account by fair and effective judicial bodies, at the national or international level. Victims must have their voices heard and taken into account. The prosecution of massive human rights violations plays a key role in deterring the future commission of such crimes.

The EU and its Member States remain committed to supporting the prevention and the sanction of international crimes and to promoting global justice.

The EU and its Member States recall the tragedy of flight MH17, which occurred on 17 July 2014, and renew their sympathy to all those who have lost their loved ones. We all remember what happened one year ago with sorrow and sadness. Acts of violence that threaten the safety of civil aviation are grave violations of international peace and security. Progress has been made with the repatriation and identification of the victims, the recovery of wreckage and the ongoing investigation into the downing of the airplane. Those directly or indirectly responsible for the downing of MH17 must be held accountable and brought to justice, in accordance with UNSC resolution 2166. In this respect the EU and its Member States fully support the ongoing efforts to establish a binding and credible prosecution mechanism.

The European Union and its Member States would like to convey our gratitude to the Montenegrin FSC Chairmanship for the excellent work accomplished during the current trimester. We will elaborate further on the FSC activities under Montenegro's able and dedicated leadership on the occasion of the assumption of the Chairmanship by Norway. Returning to the security situation in and around Ukraine, we reiterate our consistent position that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all parties, based on the OSCE's principles and commitments and the full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, is key to a sustainable political solution to the crisis. We continue to lend our support to all diplomatic efforts, including within the Trilateral Contact Group, the Normandy format, and the SMM, aimed at achieving such a solution.

We note with deep concern recurrent violations of the ceasefire as well as presence, movement and use of heavy weapons in violation of the Minsk agreements. Particularly worrying are the SMM reports about shelling of residential areas resulting in further civilian deaths. We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and reiterate our strong condemnation of the shelling of residential areas and their use as firing positions in breach of international law.

Concentrations of military hardware within the exclusion zone, especially in and around the separatist-controlled railway-hub Komsomolske, add further to our concerns. Such negative patterns are coupled with systematic jamming of SMM UAVs while overflying the separatist-held area north-east of Mariupol.

Furthermore, the SMM remains unable to fully fulfil its mandate and tasks under the Minsk agreements due to security considerations and restrictions of its freedom of movement, especially in separatist-controlled areas. The SMM remains prevented from monitoring the significant portion of the border not under the control of the Ukrainian authorities which is one of its main activities under the Minsk agreements.

We therefore urge all parties to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for the SMM and to provide it with the full baseline information that would allow for effective verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

We once again call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements, the ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We underline the Russian authorities' responsibility in this regard. We also call on the Russian Federation to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. We also reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political solution.

We repeat that effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state border should be an integral part of a sustainable political solution which fully upholds OSCE principles, and re-establishes Ukrainian control over its sovereign territory, including the border.

In this context, we deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

[Alignment paragraph]

Thank you Mr. Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.

 

[alignment]

The EU and its Member States welcome the holding of the sixth meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing. Let me express our thanks to the Bureau, our colleagues from Argentina, as well as the United Nations staff for their efforts in preparing this session.

Mr. Chair,

Population ageing constitutes one of the most significant demographic transformations of the twenty-first century. The European Union and its Member States are fully committed to the human rights of older persons. The EU acknowledges the serious challenges that older persons face, including when it comes to the enjoyment of their human rights. Our active participation in the previous sessions of the Working Group and our engagement during this year's session also has to be seen in this context. We perceive this meeting of the working group together with its panel discussions and interactive dialogues as an opportunity to discuss measures and actions devised to improve the situation of older persons. It's an opportunity to hear from government representatives and experts, as well as from civil society actors, about their experiences, best-practices and policies and to further discuss progress and measures to improve the situation of older persons.

Mr. Chair,

The situation of older persons is very high on the agenda of the European Union and its Member States. This is illustrated by a number of recent events. In June of this year, the EU organized in Brussels a conference on innovative financing opportunities for active and healthy ageing, in the context of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing. Also in June, on the occasion of the 10th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the EU Commission organised together with the Council of Europe, AGE Platform Europe and ENNHRI a joint event on Tackling elder abuse in Europe: a renewed commitment or a missed opportunity.

Moreover, the EU, together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), launched the Active-Ageing Index, on which we had a joint international seminar in Brussels on 16-17 April 2015. We are grateful to the University of Southampton, whose support to UNECE and the Commission in developing the index was essential. On Thursday you will hear more on this project from its representative. This is one example of a successful cooperation between the Commission and an international organisation in the area of active ageing policy support to our MS, alongside our cooperation with the OECD, the WHO and the World Bank. We would also like to mention the European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing on 9 – 10 March 2015 which explored how the demographic change can be turned into an opportunity for Europe through technology, innovation and new ways of cooperation. Lastly, the European Commission has published two important reports on Ageing. The first report, published in autumn last year, describes the underlying macroeconomic assumptions and age-related projection methodologies for all MS. Later on, in March this year, the EU adopted the second report with projection until 2060 of the economic, budgetary and societal impacts of these trends for policy makers.

Mr. Chair,

We sincerely welcome the opportunity to exchange more on regional and national efforts, building on the existing standards and policy frameworks that exist on different levels. The protection of the human rights of older persons requires involvement of multiple stakeholders at all levels, including the involvement of older persons themselves, beyond government and public service. In this regard, we support broad and inclusive participation of civil society organisations in the OEWG. It is important for us to note that the work of this Working Group is part of a larger discourse on ageing issues which should also take into account the social policy and development dimension. In order to mainstream the rights of older persons throughout the work of the UN, we need to ensure a regular, coherent and comprehensive discussion within the UN on ageing issues, making proper use of existing meetings such as those of the Commission on Social Development and regional commissions within the ECOSOC. We further stress our full support for the work of the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Older Persons and call on all member states to cooperate with the Independent Expert in the discharge of her mandate.

Mr. Chair,

With regard to the specific mandate of the Working Group, I would like to recall what has repeatedly been underlined by numerous delegations throughout previous meetings: the whole spectrum of internationally recognized human rights standards and principles also cover and protect older persons without discrimination. Moreover, the current international legal framework addresses many of the issues discussed in this session, namely health, social security, accessibility, violence and discrimination. Therefore, although it is important to discuss the implementation and protection gaps, the EU remains sceptical that they are of a normative nature.

At the same time, the EU recalls its position that more can be done through the implementation of the existing Human Rights framework that also addresses the human rights of older persons and combats age discrimination. More can and should be done to address the undisputed human rights challenges, that range from abuse, discrimination, poverty and lack of opportunities and to deal with specific health issues and other challenges associated with old age.

Mr. Chair,

On the basis of our joint analysis of the situation of the human rights of older persons we share the view that there is an urgent need for improvement. At the same time, we remain proponents of the strategy that focus on a determined application of existing standards is the most effective and practical way to address the protection and implementation gaps.

This could be facilitated, for example, through an increased focus on age as a specific perspective when monitoring existing human rights instruments. There are various opportunities within the human rights system which particularly highlight age relevant issues such as the General Comments issued by the Treaty Bodies or joint reports of the existing Special Rapporteurs. In this regard we welcome the upcoming presentation by the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Older Persons at this session. The EU also considers that the various mechanisms established in the area should usefully complement each other. A comprehensive compilation which would assemble the existing standards in one document would be a concrete and swift step forward.

For the EU, it is important to emphasize that many protection gaps and measures are already being considered in a comprehensive and inclusive manner, under the umbrella of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. The Madrid Plan remains the international point of reference also today. Regional conferences are organized on a regular basis as part of its review. We urge all UN members and agencies to accelerate its implementation at the national, regional and international level. We agree to the need to substantially step up and support activities benefitting the implementation of current human rights instruments. We hope that this Working Group session will build on the Madrid plan, highlight opportunities to strengthen the application of existing standards to improve the human rights protection of older persons and come up with a strong call to action on all of us to do more. We also hope that it will contribute to generating the political will that is necessary to prioritize ageing issues, including the much-needed change in mind-set, to start conceiving older persons as assets and contributors, rather than as a problem and a subject of state intervention. We also recognise the relevance of the rights of older persons in the post-2015 development agenda.

Mr. Chair,

Before concluding, let me also look beyond this session. We have been looking forward to this meeting and we will contribute actively to the exchanges. It is of utmost importance to revisit priority issues on a regular basis and we agree that much remains to be done to fully realize the human rights of older persons and to ensure their rights to life-long learning, self-determination, participation and inclusion in our societies. We would like to invite you all to join the reflection on how best to ensure a more regular, meaningful and comprehensive discussion within the UN on ageing issues, including through the use of existing meetings such as the Commission for Social Development.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

On 19 June 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/959[1]. The Council Decision extends existing measures until 23 June 2016.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.



[1]Published on 20.6.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 156, p. 25.

On 5 June 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/876[1].

The Council Decision extends existing measures for three of the four persons covered by measures applying until 6 June 2015. The measures are extended until 6 March 2016 for two of the persons concerned and until 6 October 2015 for the third person.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.



[1]Published on 6.6.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 142, p. 30.

On 22 June 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/971[1]. The Council Decision extends existing measures until 31 January 2016.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.



[1]Published on 23.6.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 157, p. 50.

On 22 June 2015, the Council adopted Decision (CFSP) 2015/973[1] implementing Council Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

The Decision removes one person from the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures as set out in Annex I to Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.



[1]Published on 23.6.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 157, p. 52.

 EU Statement at the Closing Session, OSCE Meeting to Review the Implementation of OSCE Practical Assistance Projects on Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

The European Union wishes to express once again its appreciation to all of the speakers, organisers and the participating States for their active contribution to this Meeting to Review the Implementation of OSCE Practical Assistance Projects on SALW and SCA. It clearly demonstrated the continued need to uphold and improve the rich track record of the OSCE commitments and practical activities in combating the broad range of SALW and SCA-related security risks.

We therefore view this meeting as further impetus to the full implementation and strengthening of the OSCE SALW and SCA toolbox in all its aspects. We reiterate our continued commitment and support to this effort.

The European Union reiterates its readiness to take this issue further, including in preparations for the Ministerial Council in Belgrade, and calls upon all participating States to contribute to this common endeavour.

In conclusion, we would like to thank the Montenegrin FSC Chairmanship for its active involvement in the success of this meeting.

[Alignment paragraph]

 EU statement on the Commemoration of Srebrenica, OSCE Permanent Council No 1062, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

1. On 11 July, we commemorated the genocide that took place in Srebrenica 20 years ago. This heinous crime left deep scars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and across the European continent. We reject any denial or relativisation of the genocide.

2. On that day, we mourned the loss of more than eight thousand victims and honoured the memory of those still missing. The European Union stands by their relatives in their grief. And we confirm our strong commitment to help bring the perpetrators to justice. European integration starts with justice. It continues with reconciliation between nations and within Bosnia and Herzegovina, and joint work on a common project of peace, security and prosperity.

3. We salute all the leaders of South East Europe who work for reconciliation and integration, who are willing to face harsh historical truths, accept their own responsibility and who reach out to each other across dividing lines.

4. We welcomed the decision of Prime Minister Vučić of the Republic of Serbia to attend the commemoration. We regret the fact that the Prime Minister was forced to leave the commemoration. This incident shows that we all need to redouble our efforts to heal the wounds of the past and pursue true and lasting reconciliation across the whole of the Western Balkans region.

[Alignment Paragraph]

1. The European Union welcomes that the latest round of Geneva International Discussions held on 30 June and 1 July 2015 did not only go undisrupted, but also saw a more lively and engaged exchange than in recent months.

2. In Working Group I, no serious incidents that could have a destabilising impact on the situation were noted. In this regard, we emphasise the pragmatic cooperation of the Incident Prevention Response Mechanism in Ergneti and the use of the hotline, to ensuring stability and avoiding escalation of small scale incidents. We strongly support the resumption of the effective functioning of the Gali IPRM meetings without preconditions.

3. We believe that the issue of non-use of force and international security arrangements continue to be core subjects of the Geneva International Discussions. We therefore regret that only little progress was made in moving forward with this issue. We continue to believe that a clear commitment by Russia on non-use of force is essential.

4. We commend that debates in Working Group II were held in a generally constructive atmosphere, allowing discussions on practical steps in the field of cultural heritage, health, education, residence and crossing permits and regimes, and water-related issues.

5. The EU calls on all the concerned parties to facilitate and grant unrestricted access to the international humanitarian organisations for the benefit of all persons affected by the conflict and in need of human rights protection, and expresses its concern at the human rights situation in the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

6. The EU also wishes to underline that the issue of refugees and IDPs, and their safe, dignified and voluntary return, continues to constitute a key agenda item in the Geneva International Discussions. We therefore call on all participants to engage in a pragmatic and open exchange of views on this subject. We welcome the efforts by the Georgian government to provide durable and sustainable housing solutions, access to livelihoods and financial assistance to the IDPs, and the new Action Plan on IDPs for the period 2015-2016 approved in January to ensure harmonisation of government’s policy with the revised Law on IDPs.

7. We welcome the recently launched confidence building measure projects by the OSCE secretariat - “The OSCE Summer School”, which aims at promoting people-to-people contacts and supports restoration of trust and confidence among young people on both sides of the Administrative Boundary Line; and the provision of potable water in the villages of Zemo Sobisi and Kvemo Sobisi, situated near the Administrative Boundary Line with South Ossetia.  

8. We remain convinced, that there is an urgent need for a meaningful cross-dimensional OSCE presence throughout Georgia, in particular for the benefit of the civilian population, including robust monitoring capacity able to operate unhindered across the Administrative Boundary Lines. We encourage the current Serbia OSCE Chairmanship to continue exploring possibilities to this end.

9. The EU reiterates its firm support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognised borders and reiterates its concern about the continuing Russian military and security related presence and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian breakaway regions. We once again call on the Russian Federation to fulfil its obligations under the 12 August agreement and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008, including providing the EUMM access to the breakaway regions.

[Alignment Paragraph]

 EU Statement in response to the Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, H.E. Ambassador Andrey Sorokin, OSCE Permanent Council No 1062, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

1. The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome Ambassador Sorokin to the Permanent Council and we thank him for his report.

2. We support the Office’s activities in all three dimensions and are pleased to note that the Office continues to enjoy good cooperation with the Government and with civil society.

3. We note the ongoing work on improving the electoral process. We encourage the Government of Armenia to continue to work with the OSCE and ODIHR to address the issues raised in their election observation reports and to pursue an inclusive and transparent process of amendments to election-related legislation, in line with their recommendations.

4. However, democratic progress is not limited solely to improved elections. Working on continuously improving respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as rule of law remains essential. We therefore continue to support the Office’s work, in cooperation with OSCE/ODIHR, on reforming the judiciary and the criminal justice system. Our support for the Office’s work in assisting the Armenian Government’s police reform programme is well known. We have previously noted with concern the reports of excessive use of force on 23 June to disperse protestors in Yerevan, including the reports of journalists being targeted. We also recognise the largely restrained and well-handled policing since then during the ongoing series of protests over electricity prices, as well as the ongoing internal police investigation into reported police abuses. We hope this is perhaps evidence of the positive impact of the Office’s work. We commend the actions of the OSCE Office in Yerevan in its swift reporting of the events in a Spot Report and for its statement expressing concern and calling for restraint and dialogue. We encourage the government of Armenia to continue its work on security sector reform and note that the Office will need to remain fully engaged on this to help ensure its long-term sustainability.

5. We strongly support the Office’s work on good governance and the fight against corruption. In particular we welcome the Office’s continued assistance to the Rapid Regulatory Guillotine Project. We would welcome more information on how the office intends to support this area in the future.

6. We also reiterate our support for the Office’s work on the human rights situation in the armed forces and welcome the results achieved.

7. We note the Ambassador’s comments regarding secondments and resources. However, in a challenging resource climate, OSCE operations need to be leaner and sharper in fulfilling their mandate effectively. This may include the necessity to reprioritise and improve the focus of the programmatic structures and activities of Field Operations. We encourage the office to make full use of the OSCE Evaluation Framework for next year’s PBPR, in order that a better measurement of impact can be made. We also encourage you to coordinate closely with other donors to ensure best value for money and that projects work to complement rather than duplicate the efforts of others. 

8. In conclusion, we would like to thank Ambassador Sorokin and his team for their work and wish them all the best for their future endeavours.

[Alignment]

1. The European Union warmly welcomes High Commissioner Astrid Thors back to the Permanent Council and thanks her for her comprehensive report on recent activities.

2. The EU highlights its support for the office and the mandate of the High Commissioner. We reiterate the importance we attach to the respect of rights of persons belonging to national minorities. We call on all OSCE participating States to respect the mandate of the High Commissioner on National Minorities and to co-operate closely with her office on all matters related to national minorities and to make full use of its expertise. Quiet diplomacy, which characterises the work of the High Commissioner, is less visible to the public but brings results of lasting importance. We reiterate that the High Commissioner should have the necessary means to fulfil her mandate.

3. We commend the work done in the areas of education, including in multilingual and integrated education, effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities in public life as well as policing in multi-ethnic societies.

4. We see the need for developing effective policies for integration of persons belonging to minorities as an essential aspect of a tolerant and stable society, in line with the principle of “integration with respect for diversity”. We agree that preventing divisions along ethnic lines enhances the stability of societies. Any concerns in respect to persons belonging to national minorities should be addressed with full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and good neighbourly relations.

5. We welcome the High Commissioner’s engagement in regard to the crisis in and around Ukraine, and we took note of the concerns the High Commissioner expressed in her report related to the four aspects that are important to an inclusive policy. The rights of persons belonging to national minorities need to be fully ensured in line with the relevant international standards, including those of the OSCE and the Council of Europe. We support the commitment of the Government of Ukraine in this regard. We encourage the High Commissioner to continue her dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities to improve the institutional framework for implementing rights of persons belonging to national minorities, including language issues, and promoting their integration.

6. We share the High Commissioner’s deep concern about the deteriorating human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula as we have learned from numerous reports. We have many times expressed our concern about the precarious position of both the Crimean Tatar and the Ukrainian-speaking communities after the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.

7. We find it highly disturbing that the authorities in de facto control of the Crimean Peninsula have so far not accommodated requests from the High Commissioner and Ukraine to facilitate a visit to Crimea. As stated in her report, it is clearly in the mandate of the High Commissioner to seek information about the situation on the ground. We reiterate that the High Commissioner and other international human rights actors should be granted full, free and unrestricted access to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol.

8. We note the good cooperation the High Commissioner has with the National Assembly and Government of Kazakhstan on inter-ethnic issues and reforms in the education system. 

9. We welcome her first visit to Turkmenistan and it is encouraging that certain issues related to the inter-ethnic situation can now be discussed in openness. The activities within the framework of the Central Asia Education Programme remain important and we commend her for that.

10. We support the High Commissioner’s continuous engagement with the Republic of Moldova and her work on integration of society and language issues. In that context we would like to draw attention to the long-standing issue of the Latin script schools in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova. This subject should be followed closely with a view to ensuring their normal and sustainable functioning.

11. We consider as positive the High Commissioner’s activities in Georgia such as the cooperation on the new Civic Equality and Integration Strategy and the Multi-Party Dialogue on National Minority Issues.      

12. We support her engagement in the western Balkans promoting long-term stability, in particular in Serbia, but foremost in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with her two visits to that country together with the Chairman-in-Office and his Special Representative for the Balkans.

13. Finally, we thank Ms. Thors and her staff for their excellent work and once again express full support for the High Commissioner and her team.

[Alignment Paragraph]

1. In our statement of 28 May, we expressed the European Union’s concern at the enactment by the Russian Federation of a law on so-called undesirable non-governmental organisations. We noted that this law would have a further negative impact on the work of civil society in Russia.

2. The recent request by the Federation Council to the Prosecutor General's Office to consider 12 reputed NGOs as undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation will, if implemented, further isolate civil society and disrupt its legitimate work.

3. The law on "undesirable NGOs" as well as the "foreign agents" law and restrictions on foreign media ownership are already crippling civil society and restricting the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Russia. In practice, the law on "undesirable NGOs" bars internationally recognised NGOs from working for and with Russian citizens and civil society and prohibits the participation of Russian citizens in their activities.

4. This law is yet another worrying sign of the shrinking space allowed for independent civil society in Russia, which is being targeted by measures like the harassment of the independent election observers of Golos and the listing of organisations as "foreign agents". Such listings are increasingly leading to the termination of the activities of the listed organisations, with the most recent examples of the Dynasty Foundation and the Committee Against Torture.

5. The EU calls on the Russian authorities not to proceed with the implementation of this law, which would violate Russia's international human rights obligations in the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

[Alignment Paragraph]

1. The European Union welcome the commitment to an agreement by the four main political parties in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia following the constructive negotiations in Skopje on 14 and 15 July.

2. This agreement builds on the 2 June accord. After several months of facilitated dialogue, we welcome the political leaders' strong commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration and the European perspective. This is an important step in overcoming the current crisis and towards addressing key challenges facing the country. Political leaders in the country must now swiftly implement the agreement in good faith. We stand ready to work with all parties to ensure the full implementation of all aspects of these commitments, including the Commission's urgent reform recommendations on systemic rule of law issues.

[Alignment Paragraph]

1. The installation of new demarcation signposts along the administrative boundary line of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia has led to tension in the area, with potentially negative effects on the local population, their livelihood and freedom of movement.

2. Steps that could be perceived as provocative must be avoided, as must any action that is detrimental to ongoing efforts to stabilise the situation, in an atmosphere conducive to longer-term conflict resolution and regional stability.

3. The EU and its monitoring mission are closely following the situation. We call for restraint and for the use of existing mechanisms such as the Geneva International Discussions and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism to defuse tensions.

4. The EU reaffirms its full support for Georgia's territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

[Alignment Paragraph]

1. The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome SMM Chief Monitor Apakan to this joint meeting of the Forum for Security Co-operation and the Permanent Council. We remain fully supportive of the SMM's impartial and objective reporting and its efforts to de-escalate the crisis in and around Ukraine.

2. Mr Chairperson, today's meeting comes at a critical point in time. Five months after the ceasefire agreed in Minsk in February we continue to receive daily SMM reports on ceasefire violations and movements of heavy weapons and tanks in violation of the Minsk agreements. We note the SMM's assessment that the ongoing clashes have not translated into territorial gains for either side, but have caused further deaths of civilians and fighters of both sides and massive destruction to property and infrastructure with the net result of further suffering for the civilian population. We also note from the SMM's reporting that the independently compiled logs of representatives at the JCCC headquarters suggest that most of the time separatist forces are 'responsible for the majority of ceasefire violations'.

3. We commend the efforts of the SMM to facilitate local ceasefires and demilitarisation on the ground, most recently in Shyrokyne and between Maiorsk and Horlivka. We also commend the efforts of the SMM Chief Monitor and his deputy as coordinators of the working group on security under the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE Chairmanship. We call on all sides to strengthen their efforts and to show the necessary political will to allow for concrete results in all working groups.

4. We call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honour their commitments. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists it backs to meet their Minsk commitments in full. In this context, we recall the decision by the European Council to extend the EU restrictive measures, in view of Russia’s destabilising role in eastern Ukraine.

5. The SMM must be allowed to fulfil its mandate and implement its tasks under the Minsk agreements. We are therefore deeply concerned that the SMM's access continues to be restricted despite repeated commitments to ensure the freedom of movement of the SMM made by all sides. We note in particular that access remains fully or partly restricted in large swaths of separatist-controlled territory. We call on all sides to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for SMM monitors and UAVs to all parts of Ukraine, including to the Crimean peninsula and along the border with Russia. We would welcome an assessment of the impact of jamming and other threats to the operation of SMM UAVs. We once again call on all parties to provide the SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

6. We welcome the SMM’s recent thematic reports on gender and freedom of movement to and from Crimea. The report on gender is an important reminder of the need to involve women in conflict prevention and resolution and we fully support the Mission’s efforts on gender related monitoring activities. The freedom of movement report clearly underscores the urgent need of access for the SMM to the Crimean peninsula in order to enable monitoring of the alarming human rights situation there.

7. Mr Chairperson, the crisis in and around Ukraine has strongly reminded us of the significant role the Vienna Document and its broad set of CSBMs could play not only in confidence-building but also in early warning and risk reduction, if duly implemented. Therefore we once again urge the Russian Federation to respond to the repeated questions put under the Vienna Document Chapter III and enter into a constructive dialogue. We also urge all parties to make full use of all other instruments pertaining to the OSCE politico-military dimension of security as well as for the FSC itself as a platform for cooperative security and dialogue.

8. That is why we see the full implementation, updating and modernisation of the existing OSCE commitments in the politico-military area, based on founding OSCE principles and agreed norms, as a priority task. We reiterate that such process should reflect the experience and lessons learned during the Ukraine crisis. Thus, we support discussions aimed at identifying ways to improve specific provisions of the Vienna Document in the light of the crisis in and around Ukraine and remain ready to take an active part in the discussions within a dedicated format.

9. Furthermore, the FSC can play an important role, not only in reviewing the implementation of the OSCE CAC and CSBM commitments, but also in contributing to relevant politico-military activities of the OSCE field operations in accordance with their respective mandates and in line with the 2001 Bucharest MC Decision. We are particularly grateful to the SMM Chief Monitor for his presentation today as we believe that such briefings would better enable the FSC to discuss and adopt, if appropriate, tailor made measures to support ongoing activities, including of the field missions, in conflict prevention, risk reduction and crisis management.

10. Mr Chairperson, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We once again urge Russia to recognise by acts these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

11. [Alignment paragraph]

1. The European Union recalls that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk Package of implementation measures.

2. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and immediately release all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens without further delay. This includes Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, and all other Ukrainian citizens who are being illegally detained in Russia and on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula.

3. The decision by the Russian authorities on 13 July to hold Nadiya Savchenko’s trial in the small border town of Donetsk, in the Rostov region of Russia, is of great concern. This could significantly hinder access to the court and monitoring of her trial, including by international observers. Reports that Savchenko is facing up to 25 years in prison are also extremely concerning. We underline that Russia bears responsibility for the health, wellbeing and observance of the human rights of all the persons it illegally detains.

[Alignment paragraph]

1. Earlier today, the Permanent Council commemorated the anniversary of the tragedy of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. Those directly or indirectly responsible for the downing of MH17 must be held accountable and brought to justice, in accordance with UNSC resolution 2166. In this respect, the EU and its Member States fully support the ongoing efforts to establish a binding and credible prosecution mechanism.

2. We remain deeply concerned by the continuing ceasefire violations at and around the Donetsk airport and other locations in parts of eastern Ukraine. The presence, movement and use of heavy weapons in violation of the Minsk agreements are also of major concern. We note in particular the SMM’s reports on concentrations of military hardware in and around the separatist-controlled railway-hub in Komsomolske north-east of Mariupol. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution.

3. We once again call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements, based on OSCE principles and commitments, and in full respect of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists it backs to meet their Minsk commitments in full. In this context we recall the decision by the European Council to extend the EU restrictive measures, in view of Russia’s destabilising role in eastern Ukraine.

4. The Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship must continue to play an essential role in promoting the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We hope that the meetings of the working groups subordinate to the Trilateral Contact Group scheduled next week will finally result in agreement on concrete proposals. We call on all sides to strengthen their efforts and to show the necessary political will. We reiterate our support for the efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

5. We remain fully supportive of the SMM's efforts in Ukraine as we stressed in response to Chief Monitor Apakan earlier this week. The SMM must be allowed to fulfil its mandate and implement its tasks under the Minsk agreements. We once again call on all sides to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for SMM monitors and UAVs to all parts of Ukraine, including to heavy weapons holding areas, the Crimean peninsula and along the border with Russia. We also once again call on all sides to provide the SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

6. We deeply regret that so-called ’humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed. We note with concern a pattern of intensified military activities of the separatists, usually following arrival of so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia.

7. We have taken note of the recent developments in Mukacheve. It is crucial that there is an immediate end to any illegal actions and that rule of law is fully observed. The EU expects the incident to be thoroughly investigated by the authorities and perpetrators of illegal actions to be brought to justice.

8. Mr Chairman, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We once again urge Russia to recognise by acts these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

[Alignment Paragraph]

 EU Statement on the Abduction by the Russian Federation of an Estonian Police Officer

Ten months have passed since the abduction of Estonian police officer Mr Eston Kohver on 5 September 2014 by the Russian Security Services on Estonian territory.

His abduction and continuing illegal detention constitute a clear and grave violation of international law by the Russian Federation.

 The illegal detention of Mr Kohver has once again been prolonged, he has been deprived of the right to fair proceedings and he does not receive adequate legal aid.

We are disturbed that there is no public hearing of the case and that the Estonian consul is not allowed to be present at the court hearings. Despite repeated requests, the Russian authorities have failed to resolve the issue.

The EU calls once again on the Russian Federation to release Mr Kohver immediately and to ensure his safe return to Estonia.

The Member States of the European Union wish to express their appreciation for the FSC Decision to hold the 4th Annual Implementation Discussion on the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security which provides an excellent forum for discussing the Code's implementation in the light of current political and military developments. We convey our sincere gratitude to all of today's keynote speakers for their contributions.

The value of this OSCE landmark document has been once again acknowledged with the adoption of the Commemorative Declaration marking its twentieth anniversary at the Ministerial Council in Basel last year. We would like to recall that all OSCE participating States took this occasion to reaffirm the undiminished validity of the guiding principles and common values of the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris and the Helsinki Document 1992, as well as the validity of other OSCE commitments.

We also recall that Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine undermines European security, the latter based on the fundamental principles of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and solidified through subsequent OSCE documents and commitments, including the Code of Conduct. At the same time, the Ukraine crisis strongly underscores the need for countries to comply with their politico-military-commitments, and implement them fully and in good faith.

Ensuring strict implementation and making full use of the OSCE politico-military commitments and instruments, including the Code of Conduct, both in letter and spirit, by all participating States, with a view to de-escalating the crisis in and around Ukraine and helping promote a sustainable peaceful solution, based on full respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, remains for us the top priority.

That is why we remain strong supporters of the OSCE Code of Conduct and attach great importance to its full implementation, in inter alia ensuring democratic political control of the armed and security forces, protection of the rights of armed forces personnel and respecting international humanitarian law. We believe that implementation should be further strengthened and kept in line with today's security needs.

With regard to the annual information exchange, which remains an important implementation tool, we continue to believe that additional efforts are needed to improve the overall quality of replies and to enhance their comparison. In this respect, we welcome the working paper circulated by the FSC Coordinator for the Code of Conduct which is meant to improve the reporting outcome. It is our conviction that a qualitative assessment and analysis of the annual information exchanges would bring a more meaningful and valuable insight into the implementation of the Code as compared to the current, purely statistical overview.

We welcome and support the voluntary reporting of additional information within the annual information exchange of the Code of Conduct on issues related to women, peace and security (UNSCR 1325) which remains at a steady high level. We keep encouraging all participating States to consider providing such additional information on a voluntary basis, including on private military and security companies, and appreciate the Food for Thought Paper prepared by the German Delegation with a view to promote additional information sharing in the latter area.

We are convinced that further events organised for OSCE participating States as well as for the OSCE Partners for Co-operation will contribute to increasing awareness and outreach. We continue to highly appreciate initiatives to strengthen both the internal coherence of the OSCE executive structures' activities in this field and the co-operation of the OSCE with its Partners for Cooperation and key stakeholders of the Code of Conduct such as parliamentarians. In this regard we are looking forward to the outcomes of the conference on the Code of Conduct to be held in Germany next year as well as to the joint Serbian-Swiss workshop in Belgrade in October this year.

In this context, we also welcome the efforts of the previous FSC Chairmanship Mongolia for hosting the conference on the Code of Conduct this March in Ulaanbaatar which we believe was an important event in the promotion of the principles and the norms stipulated in the Code of Conduct in the Central Asian region and among the OSCE Partners for Cooperation.

We highly value as well the activities of RACVIAC for promoting the implementation of the Code of Conduct at sub-regional level and are looking forward to the second peer-to-peer discussion on its implementation to be held among the countries of South Eastern Europe in September 2015 in Croatia.

The EU and its Member States hope that today’s deliberations will pave the way for result-oriented work throughout this annual meeting and are ready to participate actively in the discussions.

[Alignment paragraph]

1. The European Union recalls that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk Package of implementation measures.

2. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and immediately release all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens without further delay. This includes Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, and all other Ukrainian citizens who are being illegally detained in Russia and on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula.

3. We remain deeply concerned about the health of Nadiya Savchenko who was abducted and illegally transferred to Russia in connection with the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We underline that Russia bears responsibility for the health, wellbeing and observance of the human rights of all the persons it illegally detains.

 [Alignment paragraph]

1. Last week’s Annual Security Review Conference (ASRC) was a good occasion to take stock of the crisis in and around Ukraine. We were encouraged by the overwhelming support for restoring respect for the fundamental principles upon which the OSCE is based; principles that we will commemorate next week in Helsinki. Unfortunately, the ASRC was once again a lost opportunity to engage in a genuine and fact-based dialogue about the crisis in and around Ukraine.

2. We continue to follow the crisis in and around Ukraine with deep concern. We note the continuing fighting in parts of eastern Ukraine, including in and around Donetsk city and Shyrokyne as well as in an increasing number of government-controlled areas in the Luhansk region. The large presence, movement and increasing use of heavy weapons in violation of the Minsk agreements is of particular concern. In this context, we are also concerned by large-scale training activities involving the use of heavy weapons by the so-called “DPR” and “LPR” as reported by the SMM. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution.

3. We once again underline the importance we attach to the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship. We express our full support for the Chairmanship’s new representative Ambassador Martin Sajdik. We welcome the recent meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group and its working groups but note with regret that only little progress was made. We note with regret and concern that the meeting of the working group on security, scheduled for today, will not take place. We call on the parties to strengthen their efforts and to show the necessary political will. We also reiterate our support for the efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating a full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

4. We continue to believe that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all parties, based on the OSCE’s principles and commitments and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity is the only acceptable political solution. In line with the Minsk agreements the ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine and hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict must be released. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists it backs to meet their Minsk commitments in full. In this context we recall the decision by the European Council to extend the EU restrictive measures, in view of Russia’s destabilising role in eastern Ukraine.

5. Mr Chairman, recent SMM reports have drawn our attention to the issue of freedom of movement within Ukraine. We recall that citizens’ freedom of movement within a country is a fundamental freedom.

6. We welcome the SMM’s thematic report on freedom of movement to and from the Crimean Peninsula. It confirms that the illegal annexation of Crimea has brought severe implications for its inhabitants. Human rights activists, Crimean Tatars and others have been detained and interrogated, and some have been expelled from the peninsula by the de facto authorities. The report adds to numerous other independent reports presenting a very troublesome situation in Crimea in regard to the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

7. As regards the SMM, we once again call on the parties to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for its monitors to all parts of Ukraine, including to the Crimean peninsula and along the border with Russia.

8. Mr Chairman, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We once again urge Russia to recognise by acts these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

[Alignment Paragraph]

1. The European Union has followed events in Yerevan over the last week very closely, as people have protested against an increase in electricity tariffs. We welcome the generally calm handling of the demonstrations in recent days, and the efforts by both police and protestors to keep the demonstrations peaceful.  

2. At the same time, ODIHR Director Michael Link and OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic both expressed their concern about the force used to disperse the initial protest on the morning of 23 June, including reports of excessive use of force against journalists, amongst others and including by unidentified plain clothes security officials. We share these concerns and support their calls, as also made by the EU Delegation in Yerevan earlier this week, for all allegations of excessive force to be impartially and promptly investigated and appropriate action taken. We look forward to the results of these investigations as promised by the Armenian authorities. 

3. We call on all sides to continue to act responsibly and calmly.

[Alignment Paragraph]

1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council on the statement of High Representative Mogherini on the terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait:

2. “The chain of attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait is a stark reminder that no country and no region can ignore the challenge posed by terrorists. They aim at destabilising our societies by spreading fear, suspicion, and prejudice. Both Europe and the Arab world are targeted. Together we cry for our victims – and together we will stand against violence and sectarianism.

3. The terrorists want to divide us: our response will be more unity. No nation, no power can carry out this fight alone. We need a truly global alliance, an alliance of civilisations. For this is not a fight among different worlds, the North versus the South, the West versus the Rest.

4. We face the same challenge. We are witnessing an unprecedented attempt to manipulate religion to justify terrorism and to foster divisions inside our societies.

5. We will not fall into the trap. Europe stays committed to defending the security of its citizens while safeguarding the diversity of our societies. The European Union will keep working with all its partners to fight terrorism and shore up peace and stability in our neighbourhood.

6. We offer our condolences to the people of France, Tunisia, and Kuwait and to all the families of those killed and wounded today. Our thoughts also go to the people of Syria, Iraq and also Nigeria, who are among the first victims of terrorist attacks almost every day.”

Mr Chairman,

7. We also express our condolences to the family of Egypt's Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat, who died following a terrorist attack in Cairo on Tuesday morning.

[Alignment Paragraph]

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the incoming OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to the Permanent Council. We greatly appreciate Germany’s readiness to assume the Chairmanship of the OSCE at this critical point in time. Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol – which we continue to condemn and will not recognise – and destabilising actions in parts of eastern Ukraine have seriously violated the basic principles of the OSCE. As a result, we face the most serious security crisis in Europe in decades. In order to overcome this crisis we need to restore respect for the fundamental principles upon which the OSCE is based.

2. Mr Minister, we fully support your emphasis on the need to ensure implementation of all OSCE principles and commitments and to further strengthen the ability of the OSCE to respond to this and potential future crisis  based on the comprehensive concept of security. Achieving tangible progress in the resolution of the protracted conflicts in the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the existing formats remains a top priority for the European Union. Intensified efforts to resolve existing conflicts are needed. We remain committed to strengthening the OSCE’s impact across the conflict cycle while fully respecting existing mandates. Experience shows that having the early warning information is not enough by itself. What is needed is the enhanced capacity and the political will of all sides to also act early.

3. We welcome the overarching priorities of the German Chairmanship across the three dimensions and reflecting the comprehensive concept of security. In the first dimension, full implementation of the politico-military commitments, revitalisation, and modernisation of the existing Conventional Arms Control and CSBM regimes, including the Vienna Document, to ensure stability, transparency and predictability, remains a priority task. Such a process should reflect the experience and lessons learned during the crisis in and around Ukraine. We welcome the focus on counter-terrorism, and in particular on violent extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism. We also welcome the focus on cyber security. We hope that implementation of the first set of CBMs will intensify further and that work on a second set will lead to a result this year.

4. In the second dimension, we commend the emphasis on good governance and its substantial linkages with anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. We will be interested to hear more in due course about the intention to explore other topics such as the environment, business interaction and investment climate and migration from the perspective of good governance

5. We also welcome the planned focus of the German Chairmanship in the third dimension, notably the focus on the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association and assembly as well as on combating all forms of intolerance and discrimination. We fully agree that further work is needed to ensure full implementation of our commitments in the human dimension and to address current shortcomings. We continue to be deeply concerned that these principles are being increasingly challenged in parts of the OSCE space and recall that there can be no security without respect for democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and fundamental freedoms.

6. We highly appreciate the German incoming Chairmanship’s commitment to strengthening the role of the autonomous institutions, whose mandates and autonomy we fully support. Their work to assist participating States in the implementation of commitments remains indispensable. We also reiterate our firm support for OSCE field operations and are concerned by the current tendency towards downgrading field presences.

7. We welcome the importance that the Chairmanship will attach to further involving civil society. We also wish to highlight our support for continued efforts in promoting gender equality, women’s political and economic empowerment, and elimination of gender-based violence and sexual violence in conflict across the OSCE area.

8. Recent and ongoing developments show that the security of the OSCE area is inextricably linked to that of adjacent areas. We therefore welcome the increased attention to our partners for cooperation, including when addressing transnational threats. We are grateful for the efforts that Germany is putting in chairing the Mediterranean Contact Group and we look forward to the Mediterranean conference in October in Jordan.

9. Mr Minister, next week in Helsinki we will mark the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act. We hope that our meeting there can contribute to a process of restoring respect for the fundamental principles of the OSCE. We count on the active role of the incoming Chairmanship in facilitating such a process in the future. The European Union will support you in this endeavour.

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1. The Member States of the EU welcome to the Permanent Council Mr. Christian Ahrendt, Vice President and Ms. Daniela Nick, Senior Audit Manager of the Federal Court of Auditors of Germany, and Mr. Giovanni Vultaggio, Chair of the Audit Committee. We thank them for their comprehensive reports.

2. We strongly support the work of the External Auditor and the Audit Committee which, together with the Office of the Internal Oversight, play a key role in promoting effective and efficient management at the OSCE.

3. With respect to the External Auditor’s Report, we are pleased that no material weaknesses or errors pertaining to the accuracy, completeness or validity of the financial statements were found in the audit, nor are there other significant matters arising. The year 2014 has been challenging for the OSCE in response to the crisis in and around Ukraine and we appreciate the good statement of its financial performance despite major additional funding and budgetary commitments.

4. We note that in each of the six field operations visited by the external auditor, there were problems with cash management found. This suggests a trend across OSCE field operations that needs to be addressed.

5. We appreciate the Auditor`s evaluation that previously issued recommendations have been smoothly implemented.

6. The adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), which has been completed one year ahead of the deadline, is of great benefit for the Organisation`s better financial information and for more efficient and effective use of resources.

7. We are ready to support the adoption of the draft Decision on the Financial Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2014 and the Report of the External Auditor.

8. With respect to the Annual Report of the Audit Committee, We appreciate that the Committee`s previously issued recommendations were implemented or are in progress.

9. We are pleased with the good evaluation of the progress made towards finalizing the Enterprise Risk Management and take note that further efforts are recommended in regard to the assessment and mitigation of critical strategic and programme risks. We underline the importance of making progress in this area.

10. We agree with the Committee, that continued efforts are needed to implement shared services functionality in order to increase efficiency and to reduce costs. In that regard, we also support the recommendation of the Audit Committee for the Special Monitoring Mission and Project Coordinator in Ukraine to seek synergies and opportunities for cooperation in administration.

11. We agree with the Committee’s recommendation that there should be a process in place for acting on all issues identified by the External Auditor.

12. We note the Committee welcomed the “on time” approval of the 2015 Unified Budget, and we stress it should not be seen as exception, because we are committed to ensure and successfully achieve the Organization`s objectives. Therefore we also agree with the Audit Committee that an extended budget cycle would allow for more predictability and effective planning.  

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Mr. Chairperson,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The candidate countries ………. align themselves with this statement.

 

Mr. Chairperson,

Since this is the first time I take the floor in the capacity of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, I wish to congratulate you for taking over the Chairmanship of the Executive Council and express our trust in your leadership and experience. Let me assure you and the Vice-Chairs of our continuous support in your endeavors aiming at the successful outcome of the Executive Council activities.

I seize this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to the outgoing Deputy Director-General HE Ambassador Grace Asirwatham for her valuable contribution to the work and the efficient functioning of this organization.

I would like to thank the Director-General for his comprehensive statement, which as always provides useful guidance for our work. This gives me the opportunity to reiterate our appreciation to him and to the OPCW staff for their commitment to the work of the organization and their efforts with regards to the ongoing Syrian CW operation in particular. We are looking forward to participating actively in the deliberations during this week.

 

Mr Chairperson,

It is regrettable that despite the considerable progress achieved regarding the destruction of the declared Syrian chemical weapons and production facilities, we are still facing too many uncertainties to have confidence that the dismantling of the Syrian CW program is irreversible. In this respect, we condemn the continuous use of chlorine as a weapon by the regime against innocent civilians. We are also deeply concerned regarding gaps and contradictions contained in the Syrian CW declarations.

 

Mr Chairperson,

As we have heard today, the Fact Finding Mission refers to testimonies that chlorine has been used repeatedly as a weapon since last March in the Idlib province. As in previous cases, chlorine or other chemicals have been dropped from helicopters, an asset that only the Syrian government possesses.

On the use of chlorine as a weapon, the EU supported the EC Decision at its 48th meeting and the UNSC Resolution 2209 condemning the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon in Syria. The Resolution makes clear that the use of chlorine as a weapon is a violation of both resolution 2118 and of the Chemical Weapons Convention and that those responsible for its use will be held accountable, and states that any future use will trigger Chapter VII measures under the UN Charter. Those responsible for these horrific acts must be held accountable..

In this respect, the EU fully supports the decision of the Director-General to have the FFM continue its work and considers it very important that the DG brief the UNSC on the findings of the FFM in coordination with the SG as necessary, pursuant to UNSC Res. 2118. The EU lauds the professionalism and commitment of the members of the FFM and calls on all parties in the Syrian Arab Republic to extend their full cooperation to the FFM and to ensure that it carries out its work in a safe, independent and effective manner.

 

Mr Chairperson,

The EU reiterates its concern about the insufficient information provided by the Syrian Government regarding questions arising from the discrepancies and inconsistencies in the initial declaration and subsequent Syrian explanations to the Technical Secretariat. It is regrettable that despite raising specific concerns repeatedly in the past, these worrying discrepancies have still to be addressed: namely the lack of original documentation, the fate of the 2000 aerial bombs that Syria claims to have converted, various questions concerning a ricin programme, the actual role of the SSRC in the Syrian chemical programme, the lack of information about small caliber munitions and, the recent analytical findings in relation to the samples taken by the DAT, showing traces of chemicals directly linked to the production of VX and sarin. The list remains long. In this vein, we reiterate our call on the Syrian Arab Republic to take all necessary measures to provide sufficient proof that it does not retain chemical capabilities and that its chemical weapons programme is fully declared and completely and irreversibly dismantled. The EU urges the Syrian Arab Republic to submit the narrative document it has been compiling and all other evidence to support its claims. It goes without saying that the Executive Council needs to continue to monitor the situation in Syria closely as well as to remain seized of the matter.

At this juncture, the EU again calls on Syria to respect the Convention and fully meet all its obligations as specified in Article IV paragraph 16 of the CWC regarding the costs arising in connection with the elimination of its chemical weapons programme and the verification thereof. The EU proposal to use the Syrian "frozen assets" to this end represents a positive move in this respect. So it is disappointing that Syria has so far rejected that option. We thus regret that Syria’s obligations under the convention in this regard are not met.

 

Mr Chairperson,

Turning to the other points of the agenda, we reiterate that achieving the goal of universality remains one of our principal challenges and call upon the few non States-Parties to the Convention to ratify or accede without delay . The European Union has found encouraging the information provided by the OPCW that some of the remaining non States-Parties are close to acceding to the Convention and is looking forward to the swift completion of this process. The EU, through its latest voluntary financial contribution, continues its active support for reaching this common objective in support of the TS activity and stresses its willingness to assist new States to meet their obligations under the Convention.

Regarding the destruction of declared stockpiles and verification thereof we call on the possessor States to continue their efforts to complete the destruction in the shortest time possible in accordance with the provisions of relevant decisions of the Conference of States Parties on the final extended deadlines. 

 

Mr. Chairperson,

We all want an effective OPCW, whose role will progressively have to be shifted as further progress on destruction is made from disarmament of chemical weapons to preventing their re-emergence. If it is to remain relevant, the OPCW will need to retain adequate verification capabilities. The EU supports the view that the Article VI verification regime should remain as effective as possible to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons. In addition to challenge inspections and investigations of alleged use, other means of enhancing the capabilities of the OPCW in this area should be considered, while it is important that the organization should continue having staff with the necessary skills and expertise to meet its operational requirements. The EU also welcomes the SAB’s Working Group Report on Verification which identifies important recommendations for strengthening the CWC verification regime.

Furthermore, OPCW’s close work with other relevant international organizations including the BTWC, ISU CTBTO and IAEA is of particular importance. The close cooperation between the UN and the OPCW in the Syrian operation produced many valuable lessons to be learned. These should be evaluated and followed as soon as practicable. Regular engagement and cooperation with all stakeholders, including the chemical industry and civil society, ought to be further and fully utilized. The OPCW needs to adapt its work in a changing security environment as well as to developments in science and technology. The reports of the SAB provide valuable guidance in this respect.

National implementation of the Convention in accordance with Article VII remains a core objective and the EU urges all States Parties to put in place and enforce all necessary legislative and administrative measures. It is regrettable that 18 years after the Convention entered into force, a relatively high number of States Parties have yet to implement and enforce its provisions. The European Union acknowledges the often very serious challenges and competing priorities some States Parties face and continues assisting in this area, not only through the new voluntary contribution, but also through extensive outreach. We also support the Technical Secretariat’s efforts to explore new ways of achieving progress in this area including through education and outreach.

The European Union attaches great importance to the work carried out under Article X, which constitutes one of the core pillars of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The European Union encourages all States Parties to submit adequate and timely declarations under Article X and increase offers of assistance. It is of utmost importance that the OPCW continue to increase the capacity of the Technical Secretariat and the States Parties to prevent, respond to and mitigate misuse or attacks involving toxic chemicals. We support broadening the Technical Secretariat’s cooperation with other relevant international organizations on emergency response to the use or threat of use of chemical weapons.

The European Union stands ready to discuss concrete proposals put forward under Article XI, in accordance with the relevant Decision taken by the Third Review Conference in April 2013. In the light of recent developments in different parts of the world, relevant action regarding promotion of chemical safety and security has acquired even more importance. In this respect, the work of the open-ended Working Group on terrorism needs to continue with the view to considering the recommendations contained in the report of the WG's Chair to the EC 72nd session and those contained in the Final Document of the 3rd Review Conference.

It is to be noted that the EU actively supports the OPCW activities regarding assistance, protection and international cooperation directed to States Parties from all regional groups with particular emphasis placed on support to the OPCW’s Programme for Africa. We encourage States Parties to take advantage of the assistance provided through the funded activities, by participating in them according to their own needs.

Finally, the Member States of the European Union wish to thank the Director-General for presenting the draft Programme and Budget for 2016. We are looking forward to constructive deliberations and hoping that it will be possible for States Parties to agree on it in a timely manner.

In closing, I would like to request that this statement be circulated as an official document of this session of the Council and be published on the OPCW website and extranet.

Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerence, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action