Speech

Speech at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul, 18-19 November 1999.

Statement by the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mr. Poul Nyrup Rasmussen

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

Allow me first to associate myself with the statement made by Finland on behalf of the European Union.

Furthermore, I want to commend and congratulate the Norwegian Government on the excellent way it has chaired this organization during the past year.

Mr. Chairman,

The OSCE remains an important element of European security. From Helsinki in 1975 - through Copenhagen in 1990 - until today.

At this summit, we take further steps to consolidate the common principles guiding us all:

  • The Charter for European Security will provide a framework for our cooperative security.
  • The adapted CFE Treaty entails reductions and transparency in conventional forces in Europe.

Both are important documents.

Both will shape our security landscape for many years to come.

However, the real value of the two documents will only surface, if governments seek to translate these documents into actual policies: Today, we see examples of a glaring distance between commitments undertaken and policies pursued. Words alone will not make a better tomorrow.

We must focus and unfold renewed efforts in the areas where the OSCE is at its strongest.

Kosovo is a case in point.

We are all united in promoting lasting stability in the Western Balkans. The OSCE and the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe are paving the way.

The ultimate responsibility for the success of the Pact lies with the countries of the region. But we must be prepared to support. Over a two-year period, Denmark is granting 200 mill. USD in bilateral aid to promote stability and democracy in the Western Balkans.

Mr. Chairman,

Preventing conflicts and European security go hand in hand. We speak about soft security policy and 'a culture of prevention'.

I agree. 'A culture of prevention' must be the basis for the efforts of all countries and all organizations. And soft security, as provided by the OSCE, does not mean 'weak' security.

Rapid deployment of civilian personnel is crucial for us to reach this goal. To be able to do this, Denmark has established an International Humanitarian Service: a database comprising over 300 experts in democratization and conflict prevention. On short notice, these experts can be deployed abroad.

I welcome our decisions here today to create a Rapid Expert Assistance and Cooperation Team (REACT) within the OSCE. It will give this organization the ability to react rapidly and even more efficiently. We must be able to act before crises develop - but also be ready to deploy personnel during a crisis - and as part of the crisis solution. Kosovo taught us some lessons.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE and its Democracy Teams can contribute usefully in this field. Let me add that the Danish Government very much appreciates recent efforts of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to play an active and supportive role in the day-to-day work of our Organization.

Mr. Chairman,

Working together for our common security - based on common values - also means speaking out frankly. Russia is an invaluable partner in European security. We reaffirm our position on the territorial integrity of Russia. And there should be no doubt about our attitude to terrorism.

But we also call on Russia to redress the tragic situation in Chechnya without delay.

We condemn all disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force. What we see and hear about the military activity, is completely out of proportions. Old people, women and children are the innocent victims. Also this is in violation of OSCE principles, in particular the clear provisions of the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security.

The humanitarian situation in the area is extremely worrying and unacceptable. Thousands of people are suffering, in need of immediate assistance. The outside world is ready to help. The Russian Government must give safe and unhindered passage of humanitarian aid to the people in need.

A dialogue must be opened in order to find peaceful and lasting solutions. We welcome the efforts of the OSCE and we urge the Russian Government to give a proper role to this organization in the efforts to end the conflict. It is a particular strength of the OSCE that we can assist one another in troubled matters such as these.

Mr. Chairman,

The OSCE commitments regarding human rights, respect of minorities and enhancement of the co-existence between ethnic groupings are fundamental building blocks in European security. We condemn manifestations of intolerance, aggressive nationalism, racism and xenophobia. It is a sad lesson, that increased wealth does not lead to more tolerance. And in spite of all the progress, compliance with commitments is too often lacking: the death penalty is still being exercised, fundamental human rights are being violated.

This summit takes place on the threshold of a new millennium. We have come far. At the same time, we recognize that much work still needs to be done. Together with other major institutions engaged in European security and co-operation, the OCSE will continue to have her important role to play.

Denmark will remain an active and constructive partner in the necessary efforts to strengthen the role of the OSCE and the respect for our common commitments.

The future will lead to increased international transparency, through the media, through the Internet. Negative and unacceptable events will be known quickly and clearly. This gives the 'new' OSCE a special responsibility and a special task.

The OSCE will be a visible and indispensable part of the fabric that makes a new Europe, in a new millennium.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.