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Russian Federation : Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrovs statement and answers to media questions following the OSCE Informal Ministerial Meeting, Slovakia.

Foreign ministers of the OSCE participating states have gathered at the Informal Ministerial Meeting in the High Tatras. We appreciate the initiative of Slovakia as this years chair of the organisation. Overall, the discussion was useful even though some of our colleagues are programmed to mechanically reproduce condemnations of Russia aggression, occupation, etc. However, the majority tried to use the meeting to find solutions and ways out of the critical situation that Euro-Atlantic security has found itself in.

You know the factors affecting these processes ongoing military muscle-flexing by NATO, moving military infrastructure closer to Russias borders, demanding that military budgets are tremendously increased, even though the NATO countries budgets add up to 20 times more than that of Russia.

The overall situation has also been affected by the developments around the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which has been cancelled through a US unilateral action and a refusal to even look into our explications, something we were ready to present. They ignored a proposal to arrange a detailed inspection of the missile and to answer any questions. They just refused to look at it. Such ultimatums have become a pattern with the US administration. I dont think this will be a successful approach for them, internationally.

By the way, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was not here, only an acting undersecretary attended. The idea is that the OSCE has capabilities and a mandate based on the Helsinki Final Act, the 1999 OSCE Summit documents, and the Charter for European Security to promote contact in the military-political area that will enhance trust. Three years ago, at Germanys initiative, Structured Dialogue was launched on European security issues at the expert level. This was good, but so far it has failed to bring any results. Meanwhile the situation is fairly serious; it calls for decisions, practical steps to de-escalate the situation. We hope Structured Dialogue will lead to some concrete agreements soon. Clearly, the situation is radically different from 2011 when the Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures was adopted. Our Western colleagues are now demanding the approval of additional confidence measures and more transparency. They forget but we reminded them today that the current situation is different from 2011 in that NATOs infrastructure is being built up and is moving closer to our borders. We are in favour of continuing this dialogue, but we want it to be more responsible so that all of the participants are committed to looking for a joint solution rather than engage in unfounded accusations and other confrontational rhetoric.

The second OSCE basket deals with economic issues. As a unique platform, the OSCE should harmonise integration processes in various parts of the Euro-Atlantic, including contacts between the EU and the EAEU. This is what we are interested in. The first contacts have taken place at the level of commissions. We believe that we must continue, expand and encourage them.

Problems are legion in the humanitarian basket as well. In fact, we are witnessing obvious bias by the EU countries that are unwilling to pay special attention to flagrant violations of minority rights, such as the laws adopted in Ukraine on language matters, education and the Orthodox Church. I do think that it is high time for the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to take up these matters. We have drawn the attention of the Office director to this question. Also, ensuring that all OSCE member countries abide by their commitments regarding the language, religious and educational rights of minorities falls squarely within the remit of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities.

Of course, there is the problem of the re-emergence of neo-Nazi trends. Ultra-radical forces are raising their heads in Ukraine and in the Baltics. This is also a major problem, and we discussed it today in detail. Unfortunately, at the recent OSCE Parliamentary Assembly the majority failed to support the Russian draft on preventing the revival of neo-Nazism. I think that it is embarrassing for our European partners. However, we will continue to promote this topic in the United Nations and the Council of Europe, as well as within the OSCE. Together with our colleagues, we will try to prepare a package of resolutions for the OSCE Ministerial Council that is scheduled to take place in early December in Bratislava.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:4EXSV
Date:Jul 10, 2019
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