OSCE Assembly on February 24: Austria warns against boycott

OSCE Assembly on February 24: Austria warns against boycott

The Parliamentary Assembly of OSCE in the coming week there will be boycotts from some participating states such as the Ukraine or Lithuania because the Russian participants are allowed to come. At two OSCE events last year in Britain and Poland, Russian delegations were disinvited over the aggression against Ukraine. Minister, what are the consequences for this security organization, which is based in Vienna?

There are fundamental questions. Despite all justified emotionality, one must not forget the history of this organization. It was created in 1975 with the Helsinki Process at the height of the Cold War. They came to the conclusion that you need dialogue channels. We still need them now, and probably even more in the future. Russia will not disappear from the map, geography will not change, history will not change. We have to be careful that we don’t let the platforms that our political ancestors created break down negligently or even willfully. We’ll need them at some point, no later than the day after. We all hope that in this war, in this brutal war of aggression by Russia against the Ukrainethere will be a day after and then we will again have room for diplomacy and dialogue.

If all Western countries were to boycott, the result would be that Russia left alone in space with states that are not clearly here or there. Are we really driving them into Putin’s arms?

It’s not that simple. But the OSCE is the only organization that brings together all states from Vancouver to Vladivostok. From a European perspective, it is an important platform for cooperation and dialogue, for example for the South Caucasus, keyword Armenia and Azerbaijan, or with Central Asian states. I think these states would have a hard time with an organization consisting entirely of European states without Russia, or entirely of Russia and its like-minded people.

Do these invitations and boycott threats affect the substance of the organization?

I don’t see that, but you have to be careful. Basically, we have to keep in mind that the OSCE was never a club of like-minded people. Multilateralism à la Facebook, where I only deal with people who share my content, is pointless. Let’s think about the history of the 1930s and the League of Nations. Let’s be careful what we wish for.

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