VIENNA, Austria (OSCE)—The President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Austrian parliamentarian Christine Muttonen, on January 13 called for the immediate agreement on the extension of mandates of OSCE field operations, some of which are currently being held up by representatives of OSCE countries.
“Field missions have long been the crown jewel of the OSCE, both helping OSCE countries to live up to their commitments through practical project work and representing a vital element of the Organization’s outreach capacity. The excellent work being done by our professionals in the field is now effectively being held hostage by diplomats in Vienna, some of whom are vetoing this most important work of the Organization,” said Muttonen.
The mandates of the OSCE’s field operations in Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan all expired on December 31, 2016 without agreement on their extension. The OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk is set to expire on January 31, currently with no agreement on extension.
“OSCE parliamentarians have repeatedly called for OSCE field missions to be given robust mandates that allow them to get on with their work and help OSCE countries. Whether it is promoting women’s participation in political life, undertaking anti-corruption training for judges, or supporting professional work by parliamentary staff, OSCE missions add value to the security and good governance of the countries in which they work. I call on all diplomats to the OSCE to redouble efforts and reach agreement, enabling OSCE staff to do their jobs; continuing to block this work is simply not acceptable,” said the President.
Communications Director for the U.S. Mission to the OSCE Jonathan Lalley told Mediamax that the U.S. Ambassador to OSCE Daniel Baer delivered a speech regarding this issue at the OSCE Permanent Council session on January 12.
He urged OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
“Among the most critical tasks imminently facing the Austrian Chairmanship, as you highlighted, is to reach agreement on all field mission mandates,” Baer said.
After the closure of the OSCE Office in Baku, the OSCE Office in Yerevan has been the only full-functioning representation in the region.