Prof. U. Joy Ogwu

Ambassador and Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations

New York, NY

15th February, 2011 

As Delivered

I, too, would like to welcome Foreign Minister Ažubalis to the Council and to congratulate him on assuming the chairmanship-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). We thank him in particular for his lucid and insightful briefing on the Organization’s plans and priorities for 2011, and we wish him a very successful tenure.

 The OSCE remains a key component of European security. Its importance for building strong and genuinely cooperative relationships among its 56 member States was quite evident from the briefing we have just heard this morning. We are pleased that the OSCE is not only making noteworthy progress as a regional organization, but also enhancing cooperation with the United Nations in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations. In this regard, we commend the collaboration between the OSCE and the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia that facilitated the peaceful settlement of the 2010 inter-ethnic conflict in the Kyrgyz Republic. We also commend the close cooperation between the OSCE and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.

 Nigeria welcomes the high priority that the Chairman-in-Office has placed on resolving protracted conflicts in the region, including the renewed Transdniestria settlement talks in the Republic of Moldova and the efforts to resolve the Nagorny Karabakh conflicts.

 We also welcome the OSCE’s efforts to promote cooperation in border security management in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and the deployment of a good offices mission to defuse political tension in Albania. We believe that concrete results could be achieved within the Geneva international discussions framework, and that the United Nations experience in supporting regional conflict management will be invaluable in this process. We therefore support the

Minister’s requests for full-fledged United Nations representation at the Geneva discussions.

 The emphasis Mr. Ažubalis placed on human rights, women’s and civil society issues, freedom of the press and the promotion of democracy on the agenda of the OSCE deserves our encouragement, and indeed our broad support. Our expectation is that the Vilnius conference on journalistic freedom to be held in June will serve as an important platform to genuinely address the threats to journalistic freedom and consolidate the progress under way.

 It is also our expectation that the relationship between Belarus and the OSCE will be restored on the basis of shared goals and anticipated mutual benefits. We believe that the OSCE efforts to promote tolerance through education and student-exchange agreements will guarantee long-term inter-ethnic harmony in the whole region.

 Going forward, pressing challenges such as the ongoing tensions in South Ossetia, the pursuit of freedom of the press and the safety of journalists and the settlement of territorial disputes in the southern Caucasus region present the Lithuanian presidency with a unique opportunity to promote change in the region. To achieve this credibly, the organization must also address the stagnation in arms control, vigorously engage in Afghanistan and confront the challenges of energy security.

 We share the Minister’s commitment to effectively cope with transnational threats to international peace and security, such as human trafficking, drug trafficking and cyber security. Since transnational crimes are not limited to territorial boundaries, combating them requires complete cooperation. For this reason, we urge the OSCE to continue to create opportunities for cooperation and information exchanges with regional security agencies, including the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa.

 We believe that the need for coordination between the United Nations and regional organizations in the fight against global security threats was a point that was vividly made by Mr. Ažubalis at last month’s special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, and indeed in today’s briefing.

 Nigeria believes that the vision that the Minister has outlined ensures a very promising future for the organization. It is a vision that will promote regional stability and international peace and security. Such an agenda advances the work of the Security Council, and is thus deserving of our support and endorsement. But the OSCE must strengthen its role in the region. It must retain its fundamental character as the most inclusive Atlantic forum for consultation and joint action.