Lord Hylton – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Hylton on 2014-05-07.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they expect that an Organisation for Securityand Co-operation in Europe Summit meeting will discuss Ukraine and crisis management there in the immediate future.

Baroness Warsi

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has been at the forefront of the international response to the crisis in Ukraine over recent months. The crisis has been a regular topic of discussion on the Organisation’s agenda since the Permanent Council met to discuss it in special session on 3 March. Both the Permanent Council and the Forum for Security and Co-operation have discussed Ukraine on numerous occasions since then.

The OSCE has launched a number of initiatives to contribute towards de-escalation of the crisis. On 21 March the Permanent Council agreed to the deployment of a Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine. That Mission, which includes a UK Deputy Chief Monitor and nine UK staff, swiftly deployed across the country with a mandate to gather information, report on the security situation and assess how best to meet the concerns of all parties. The Mission is providing regular reporting and recently played a key role in the negotiation of the safe release of the Vienna Document unarmed military inspectors who had been detained in Slavyansk. In Geneva on 17 April the US, the EU, Ukraine and the Russian Federation agreed that the Mission should have a role in verifying the implementation of agreed steps towards de-escalation. The Government fully supports this Mission’s work and is actively backing it with both finance and personnel. The UK has so far contributed over £1 million and is currently the second biggest contributor to the Mission’s core costs.

In addition to the SMM, the OSCE has been active in Ukraine through the work of its autonomous institutions, the High Commissioner on National Minorities and the Representative on Freedom of the Media, while there has been a rolling programme of visits by unarmed military inspectors under the Vienna Document 2011. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is sending a large scale mission of 1000 observers to monitor the Ukrainian Presidential Elections on 25 May. The UK will be providing 10% of the total number of observers with 10 Long Term Observers and 90 Short Term Observers.

There are no current plans for an OSCE Summit, while the next formal Ministerial Council is due to take place in Basel, Switzerland on 4-5 December 2014. However the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has been in regular contact with OSCE Chairman and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, most recently when they met in Vienna on 6 May, while the Minister for Europe, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington), spoke by telephone to OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier on the same day.