Excellences, dear colleagues, Let me also warmly welcome H.E. Ivica Dačić, the 2015 OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia to the OSCE:
We thank you very much Mr. Minister for your comprehensive presentation of the Chairmanship’s priorities, and you can fully count on our support.
We also wish to thank the outgoing Chairmanship for their excellent work during a difficult year for the OSCE in 2014, and we look forward to close co-operation with our Swiss friends in the Asian Contact Group this year.
I would like to join previous speakers in expressing my delegations’ heartfelt condolences to our French colleagues and to the people of France for their losses, through a barbaric terrorist attack which occurred last week, one which we strongly condem. President Ashraf Ghani stated that: “the Killing of defenseless people and civilians is a heinous act of terrorism and there is no justification for this brutal act”.
Let me recall the long-term commitment of the OSCE to further strengthen its engagement across the three dimensions of its work with Afghanistan, as requested by our Government and reflected in Ministerial Council Decisions No. 4/07 and 4/11. Afghanistan remains committed to the implementation of the programmes and projects, including in the area of border management and security, with our neighboring OSCE participating States.
The Helsinki+40 process provides additional opportunities to strengthen our dialogue and we pledge our active partnership to the process.
By the end of 2014 the ISAF and NATO military mission ended and now the ANSF are fully responsible for the security of Afghanistan. The Afghan people are grateful for the efforts, sacrifices and continued support of our partners in the International community.
The newly formed National Unity Government has now presented its cabinet nominations to the parliament and once the parliament has approved the nominees, the government will lead a national commitment equal to this unparalleled moment of opportunity in our country, at the beginning of our Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). The National Unity Government will bring its full resources to realize our fundamental goals: peace, stability, prosperity, equal rights, education and justice, which are the fundamental elements of OSCE principles.
Nonetheless, we will be continuously confronted with a number of challenges. Let me re-emphasize the necessity of effective assistance and continued support to Afghanistan in order to consolidate what has been accomplished to this date, and to secure further improvements. We are fully aware of the fact that the current crisis in the OSCE region implies certain constraints; however we are confident that the Chairmanship will maintain and increase OSCE’s activities in Afghanistan.
In conclusion, Mr. Minister, the people of Afghanistan has a strong friendly feeling to your people which goes back to the days of our Diplomatic relations in 1954, and we wish you, your people and your able team here in Vienna the greatest success.