Statement by Minister Soini at the Ministerial Event on "OSCE Peace Operations"

UN General Assembly 70, New York, Statement by H.E. Mr Timo Soini, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Ministerial Event on "OSCE Peace Operations" during the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. 1 October 2015, New York.

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to thank my colleague, Minister Ivica Dačić for organizing this event.
Stronger global-regional peace and security partnerships are needed. In this respect we need to remember that the work, experience and expertise of the UN and the OSCE are complementary. This partnership should be further strengthened.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has had a key role during the conflict in Ukraine. One of the lessons learned from Ukraine is that we need to strengthen the Organization’s capacity to prevent and respond to conflicts. It is essential that the rapid response capability is developed further. Sufficient resources are needed to enhance the capacity of the Secretariat and its Conflict Prevention Centre. The instruments need to be developed to all phases of conflict cycle.

During the conflict the OSCE has used a wide set of tools. The Special Monitoring Mission and the Observer Mission at the Russian-Ukrainian Border have been essential in assessing the situation on the ground. Strong support to the missions from the participating states is vital. Finland currently has 26 civilian monitors in the Special Monitoring Mission and 3 observers in the Observer Mission.

The Peace Operations Panel highlights the need to strengthen UN conflict prevention and mediation efforts. Finland agrees with these recommendations wholeheartedly and urges for their rapid implementation. The UN Group of Friends of Mediation, co-chaired by Finland and Turkey, discussed earlier this morning how we could do this in practice.
The OSCE, as the world's largest regional security organization, is uniquely positioned to play a role in the field of mediation. Last year Finland, Switzerland and Turkey established the Group of Friends of Mediation to advance this. In our view, the Peace Operations Panel's recommendations on strengthening the mediation capacity apply to the OSCE as well. The organization needs to be equipped with proper mediation capacities.

We must use the potential and knowledge of the field missions fully. Finland is committed to advance the panel's recommendations.
Let me conclude by thanking our hosts for organizing this event. Over the years, Finland has been a strong contributor to peace operations and we continue to have an active role also in the future.