Briefing by the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Wang Guangya
|Mr. Mr. De La Sablière
Adoption of the agenda
Briefing by the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Dimitrij Rupel, Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
On behalf of the Council, I extend a warm welcome to the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Mr. Dimitrij Rupel, and invite him to take a seat at the Council table.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
At this meeting, the Security Council will hear a briefing by His Excellency Mr. Dimitrij Rupel, Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia. I now have the honour of giving him the floor.
Let me first thank you, Mr. President, and the rest of the Security Council for inviting me and giving me this opportunity to speak before this distinguished group of representatives.
It is a pleasure and an honour to address the Security Council on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
This is not the happiest of times to be the OSCE Chairman-in-Office. As the Council undoubtedly knows, the OSCE still does not have a budget for 2005, some 10 weeks into the year. Nor does it have an agreement on a new scale of contributions. There is a lively high-level discussion going on about the future of the organization. All this comes during a year when the OSCE is supposed to be celebrating its contribution to promoting security and cooperation in Europe, reflecting on the 30 years since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act and the 15 years since the Charter of Paris set out a vision for a Europe whole and free.
One might ask whether it is true that the OSCE is in crisis. Let me answer that it is certainly in transition. Some participating States have complained of double standards and have called for a review of how the OSCE monitors elections. There was no agreement on extending the mandate of the border monitoring operation in Georgia. There was no consensus among Foreign Ministers of OSCE States at the conclusion of the last two Ministerial Council meetings.
In response to the calls for reform, I have appointed a panel of eminent persons to make recommendations on strengthening the effectiveness of the OSCE. That will be followed by high-level consultations and, subsequently, a Ministerial Council meeting in Ljubljana. There is a working group on reform that is looking at, among other things, updating the organization’s rules of procedure. A decision has been taken that clarifies and strengthens the mandate of the Secretary General, and I am currently in the process of finding a successor to Ján Kubis, whose term expires this June. We are also looking at how to improve the effectiveness of our field operations.
I see this process as an opportunity rather than as a crisis. I believe that challenges to the OSCE’s relevance and strategic direction have shaken some States out of their complacency and brought into the open some issues that had been festering below the surface for some time. If there are strong differences of opinion about security in Europe, the OSCE is the ideal place to talk about them. So let us talk. And if things need to be improved, let us do it.
One of the OSCE’s strengths is its ability to adapt to the challenges of the day. Changes in the European Union (EU), NATO and the Council of Europe reflect a Europe in transition, partly as a result of the enlargement of the European Union and NATO but also because of the need to cope with new threats to security. Organizations must remain dynamic to remain relevant, and the OSCE is no exception. So, I welcome the reform debate and initiatives to further strengthen the organization, not to kill it.
As the Council knows, the OSCE is a regional arrangement in the sense of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. We therefore read with interest the report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (A/59/565) and hope for bold decisions, such as to make greater use of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter and further to enhance United Nations cooperation with regional organizations.
The OSCE went through a similar process two years ago, when it drew up the Strategy to Address Threats to Security and Stability in the Twenty-first Century, which was adopted at the Maastricht Ministerial Council meeting in December 2003. I believe that, by implementing the Strategy, the OSCE can take on some of the burden of the United Nations in the OSCE area. As the United Nations Panel noted, the Security Council’s ability to more proactively prevent and respond to threats could be strengthened by making fuller and more productive use of regional organizations. The OSCE is well positioned and well equipped to participate.
The Panel also concluded that the United Nations should take fuller advantage of the early warning mechanisms of regional organizations and draw on their normative standards to guide preventive efforts. The OSCE has a well earned reputation in early warning, early action and conflict prevention. There are areas, such as preventing inter-ethnic conflict and regulating the marking and tracing and the brokering and transfer of small arms and light weapons, where our standards are even more progressive than those of the United Nations. The OSCE also coordinates assistance on the ratification and implementation of the 12 United Nations anti-terrorism conventions and protocols. And we work with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on addressing economic and environmental threats to security. We complement each other well in our work, and there is scope for further cooperation.
In Kosovo, the OSCE is an integral part of the pillar structure of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). That is a good example of how a regional organization can complement the efforts and enhance the capability of the United Nations. In this important year for Kosovo, I believe that the OSCE can play a key role in the standards review process and can remain part of the international presence in Kosovo. The OSCE has considerable expertise in national minority issues, policing and the building of effective public institutions, which are so essential for the peaceful and sustainable development of Kosovo. The OSCE’s potential should be used to the fullest.
The case of Kosovo highlights an issue that we need to come to terms with in the international community, including in the OSCE area, namely, reconciling the desire for self-determination with the preservation of the territorial integrity of States. In parts of Moldova and Georgia and in the disputed territory of Nagorny Karabakh, the OSCE is actively trying to resolve conflicts that are sometimes referred to as frozen, but which have recently started to thaw.
In those cases the OSCE has clear mandates and is one of the lead agencies on the ground. There may be other examples of disputed autonomy where the OSCE could play a role.
I am encouraged by the slow, but steady, progress being made in the dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
I hope that the recent changes in Ukraine and the new post-election environment in Moldova will make possible a new attempt to resolve the Transdniestrian conflict.
In addition, the OSCE is working with the parties concerned to reduce tensions in South Ossetia, Georgia, and to promote demilitarization, build confidence and achieve a lasting settlement.
In all of those cases, I urge the members of the Security Council — in particular those who are mediators in those conflicts or who have influence over the parties — to support the OSCE’s efforts. It is difficult for inter-State organizations to deal with non-State actors, even if, in some cases, they are the de facto authorities. There are times when the leverage of powerful States — including permanent members of the Council — can be crucial. I urge the Council to exert that pressure in the context of OSCE mediation efforts to help resolve those long-standing conflicts.
Another important issue in the Panel’s report is the clash between the concept of the responsibility to protect and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of a State. That is a matter on which the OSCE is very clear and progressive, at least when it comes to human rights. In 1991, at a meeting in Moscow, OSCE States agreed that
“the commitments undertaken in the field of the human dimension of the [OSCE] are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States and do not belong exclusively to the internal affairs of the State concerned”.
That legitimate intrusiveness is the basis on which participating States hold each other accountable for the implementation of their commonly agreed commitments. It is the justification for having OSCE missions in participating States helping host States to deal with specific challenges. And it is the reason the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and the Representative on Freedom of the Media can, respectively, go to any State throughout the OSCE region to prevent inter-ethnic conflict and ensure respect for free media. I believe that that type of deep engagement is unprecedented; it needs to be preserved, all the while ensuring that this is done in a cooperative spirit.
The report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change highlighted threats to international security from which no State or region of the world is immune. In our interconnected world, security is indivisible. Multifaceted challenges require a multilateral response that takes a comprehensive view of security. The OSCE is doing its part. As I have already noted, it is a leader in early warning and conflict prevention. It has a limited, but focused, role in conflict settlement. And it has a proven track record in post-conflict rehabilitation and peacebuilding. It is an inclusive and truly regional organization that provides a valuable forum for dialogue on security issues of common concern. It has unique institutions with strong mandates that deal with national minorities, freedom of the media, democratic institutions and human rights. The OSCE is the lead election-monitoring body in Europe, and its reports are seen as an important quality-control stamp. The 18 OSCE field missions represent an invaluable on-the-ground presence and offer concrete assistance to participating States. And the OSCE has quickly developed capabilities to deal with new threats to security, including in anti-trafficking, counter-terrorism, border management and policing.
When addressing new threats to security, the bottom line for the OSCE is to uphold the rule of law. For example, we have to be sure that efforts to combat terrorism are not carried out in a way that violates human rights, that border guards learn sophisticated techniques and a proper code of conduct and that human trafficking is tackled by effective investigation, law enforcement and prosecution.
Policing is a classic example. In many tense situations, one does not need Blue Helmets; one needs effective policing. Good policing has a vital role to play in the prevention of conflict, the preservation of social stability during political crises and the post-conflict rehabilitation of societies. Without effective law enforcement, respect for the rule of law and the operation of institutions responsible for upholding it, there can be little likelihood of social, political or economic development in any State. The OSCE runs police development units in the western Balkans. A police assistance programme has been launched in Kyrgyzstan, and others are in preparation in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. No other international organization currently possesses the potential to strengthen long-term law enforcement capacity and institution-building in the OSCE region in the States most susceptible to crime, corruption and human rights violations.
I have highlighted policing because it is a good example of the type of programmatic, hands-on work that the OSCE does in addressing the needs of States and communities across Europe. States should not underestimate or take for granted the quiet, but useful, work that organizations like the OSCE do to make the world a safer place. We can do things better, and I welcome the reform debate on both sides. But in the process we should not lose sight of the good things that we do, the important commitments that have been agreed to by consensus and the merits of effective multilateralism.
Europe is not yet as whole and free as was envisioned at the OSCE’s Paris summit in 1990. There is plenty of work to do, and we must remain vigilant that the progress that has been achieved in the past few years is not reversed. I am confident that the reform process will make even more people and, in particular, States aware — or remind them — of the usefulness of the OSCE and spur them to invest the necessary resources and political will to make it even more effective.
The OSCE should also be more open to sharing its experience and expertise with others. In 2004 the OSCE, at the request of the Afghan authorities, sent an election support team to Afghanistan. Earlier this year the OSCE sent a needs assessment team to the Palestinian territories to see what help the OSCE could offer on elections. Mongolia is now an OSCE Partner for Cooperation. The Council will thus note that the OSCE has an impact beyond its vast region, and that it could develop such relations even further.
The world has changed dramatically in the past 30 years since a group of 35 heads of State came together at Helsinki on 1 August 1975 to sign a Final Act devoted to improving and intensifying their relations and to contributing to peace, security, justice, cooperation and rapprochement in Europe. The OSCE has also changed dramatically in that time, evolving from a conference into a highly sophisticated organization. But the challenge remains the same for the States that participate in the OSCE: to promote better relations among themselves and to ensure conditions in which their people can live in true and lasting peace. We must continue to work together towards that goal.
As there is no list of speakers, I shall invite Council members who wish to address questions to the Chairman-in-Office to so indicate to the Secretariat as from now.
Allow me, at the outset, Sir, to congratulate you very warmly on your assumption of the presidency of the Council. I wish you every success in that capacity, and I am confident that you will indeed be successful. I pledge my delegation’s full cooperation in that regard.
I would like to voice a very special word of appreciation with regard to the excellent performance of Ambassador Adechi and his team during Benin’s presidency in the month of February.
Turning to our business for today, I have a short comment to make and two questions to pose. I would like first to congratulate Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel on his very insightful and straightforward statement. Slovenia is one of Romania’s valued partners in NATO, in the European Union and in regional affairs, and I would like to wish Mr. Rupel, from this particular perspective of our bilateral relations, a very successful term as Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Two months into that mandate, we can already see an energetic and ambitious frontal approach to the most pressing matters on the organization’s agenda. Romania is particularly pleased with the attention paid to the Kosovo issue, which is a challenge for the western Balkans and for the whole of Europe in the coming period.
Mr. Rupel raised some insightful points today, which also will remain the focus of our attention throughout 2005. One of those points refers to the degree of effectiveness of the multilateral handling of so-called frozen conflicts. Those protracted conflict situations are terrible problems for the regions in which they linger. I am sure that the “glass is half full” approach would suggest that it is at least good that those people are no longer fighting each other. However, the “glass is half empty” view shows that those situations confront the international community with constantly growing threats. Those areas that are outside international writ and settlement are strong impediments to the development of the countries and regions to which they belong and often tend to become hotbeds of organized crime, illegal trafficking, smuggling, proliferation and, not least, terrorism.
Romania believes that the United Nations and its Security Council, which has primary responsibility under the United Nations Charter for maintaining international security, and organizations such as the OSCE can and should do more to advance the settlement of such situations. Along those lines, I would like to kindly ask for Mr. Rupel’s views on two issues. First, I would ask if he would elaborate on the objectives of the OSCE chairmanship regarding further steps in the settlement of frozen conflicts. Also, at this point, how does he assess the potential of the relationship between the United Nations and the OSCE in dealing with protracted, frozen conflicts, and also in terms of conflict prevention? Secondly, perhaps he could further elaborate on the OSCE chairmanship’s approach to the Transdiestrian conflict in the Republic of Moldova?
Thank you, Mr. Foreign Minister, for speaking to us today, clearly outlining the unique capabilities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which have made it so effective in securing peace and security. In your comments, you made a point also raised by the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change: that the United Nations should cooperate more often and better with regional organizations. You highlighted early warning, early action and conflict prevention as an area for further cooperation. To follow Ambassasor Motoc with basically the same question, how, in practical terms, do you think the two organizations can improve their cooperation in order to proactively prevent and respond to threats?
The second question we would ask concerns the following. You mentioned the success of the OSCE election teams sent to Afghanistan and to the Palestinian Authority and said that the OSCE could develop its relations beyond the OSCE region even further. What opportunities do you see for the OSCE and its expertise outside of the OSCE region?
We would like at the outset, Sir, to welcome you and your delegation and to congratulate you on Brazil’s assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of March. We are also grateful to Ambassador Adechi and the entire delegation of Benin for their work presiding over the Council in February.
We are glad to welcome the participation in today’s meeting of Mr. Rupel, Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia.
Russia has supported the basic priorities which the Slovenian chairmanship has proposed in the Permanent Council of the OSCE aimed at reforming, revitalizing and restoring balance in three areas of that organization’s activities: security, the economy and the humanitarian field. We take particular note of the indicated need to enhance the role of the OSCE in the security sphere. For, in order for the OSCE fully to be able to realize its original purpose as a forum for broad dialogue among equals on the most important issues, there is a need to overcome artificial functional and territorial imbalances that have arisen in that organization’s work.
Our delegation has consistently favoured comprehensive development and improvement of cooperation between the United Nations and its Security Council and regional and subregional arrangements based on the firm foundation of the United Nations Charter, in particular Chapter VIII, duly taking into account the comparative advantages of those organizations.
We note with satisfaction that, as a regional mechanism, the OSCE has established close and productive cooperation with the United Nations in a considerable number of key areas — first and foremost, those linked to security and to the settlement of regional conflicts. To cite examples solely from the Security Council agenda, we can refer to Abkhazia, Georgia, and to Bosnia and Herzegovina. We take particular note of the contribution of the OSCE in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) on Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro. The OSCE mission in that region, which is a component of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, is playing an important role, in particular in observing and promoting compliance with human rights and in monitoring local mass media.
In that context, I would like to ask Mr. Rupel two questions. First, what additional steps must be taken to ensure truly equal protection of human rights for all inhabitants of Kosovo, first and foremost, members of non-Albanian minorities? Secondly, in the light of the negative experiences of March 2004, what steps is the OSCE planning to undertake in Kosovo — in cooperation, of course, with the United Nations — in order to prevent a recurrence of extremist manifestations on the part of local mass media and civil society organizations?
I thank the representative of the Russian Federation for his kind words addressed to me.
On behalf of my delegation, Sir, we extend our congratulations to Brazil on assuming the presidency and offer our best wishes and our full cooperation in your programme of work for this month. May we also thank the Permanent Representative of Benin and his delegation and congratulate them on their outstanding efforts during the month of February.
The United Kingdom is a strong supporter of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and therefore we are very grateful to the Minister for his briefing this morning. We want to see an active and effective OSCE covering the whole range of its mandate. We welcome the work it is doing in the security field, encouraging member States to sign United Nations conventions on terrorism activity. We welcome its general contribution to support for the international standards agreed upon by all of us and reflected in the United Nations and in other agreements. We also believe it makes a very important contribution to the building of democracy in Kosovo and across the region. And, although we welcome the reform initiatives and the report of the panel of eminent persons, we believe it is very important that new activities not be undertaken at the expense of the very important human rights and democracy-building functions.
Against that backdrop, I have two questions for the Minister. First, how would he assess the OSCE’s ability to take on new areas of activity while remaining as effective, and indeed becoming more effective, in the areas in which it has specialized until now?
Secondly, given the expansion of the European Union’s activities in the field of conflict prevention and resolution — with the European Security and Defence Policy in its military and civilian aspects and other issues of the European security strategy — how can we achieve a complementary and effective relationship among the European Union, the OSCE and other actors to effectively address European security in its broadest sense, both geographically and functionally?
I thank the representative of the United Kingdom for the kind words he addressed to me.
I now give the floor to Mr. Rupel to respond to comments and questions raised.
I do not know whether I shall be able to respond to all the questions in the way that is expected, but I will try my best. I will try to answer them one after another, as they were put to me.
Regarding frozen conflicts and their effective handling, let me say first that, in general terms, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is at its strongest in conflict prevention, but it also has a role in conflict settlement. The obvious locations, or destinations, are in South Ossetia, Transdniestria and Nagorny Karabakh; as Council members know, we have been active in those places. It is less a case of what the United Nations can do for the OSCE than of what the OSCE can do for the United Nations. That was the starting point, or presupposition, of my statement today and also a motive for my coming here. Effective conflict settlement through the OSCE would first be attempted without burdening the United Nations. Generally speaking, we could do more to increase the sharing of information on early warning so that it is followed by early action.
Regarding the further steps — how to combine and how to promote and achieve synergy between the OSCE and the United Nations — I have already said something, but this is a question that was addressed to me not only by the representative of Romania, but also by other colleagues. The OSCE attaches great importance to its links with the United Nations, and I am really thrilled to be able to meet with the Council today. As a regional organization, the OSCE contributes substantially to the maintenance of peace and security in its areas of responsibility and to the actual implementation of United Nations documents and principles. I am glad to see that the cooperation between our two organizations — one larger and more important and the other representing its 55 members — is close and continues to be strengthened. On many issues, our two organizations work in close synergy. In particular, we work very closely with the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in the fight against terrorism. We have strong links with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe — I mentioned that in my presentation — and we work closely with the United Nations in the field, particularly with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. I hope that that cooperation will be reflected in a General Assembly resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; such a text was not agreed upon at the Assembly’s fifty-ninth session. We are currently working on finding consensus on such a decision. We are very pleased with initiatives aimed at deepening the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations. We also note the calls in the report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (A/59/565) for closer cooperation with regional organizations, especially in the areas of early warning and conflict prevention. We are interested in exploring that further.
I now turn to Transdniestria, which must be addressed in the near future, because it is a dangerous source of instability not only for Moldova, but for Ukraine as well. The changes in Ukraine and the new line of the Moldova leadership enable us to look for solutions. Control of the Ukrainian-Trandniestrian border — or, if you will, the Moldovan border — on the Ukrainian side, if implemented rigorously, could convince Tiraspol within months that the current situation is not sustainable. I believe that decentralization and strong self-government would not only offer a chance for Transdniestria to reintegrate, but would also contribute to the democratization of Moldova.
I thank the representative of the United States for his questions regarding the relationship between the United Nations and the OSCE; I have tried to respond partially to them.
Regarding our experiences in going beyond our standard area of operation, we would, of course, have to enhance our technical abilities and deal with the problems that are on the table, such as the budget and the scale of contributions. We also have a small management crisis regarding a new Secretary General. But I certainly believe that the OSCE should regard itself as an organization meant to work closely with the United Nations and actually to do United Nations work — or work that is in complete harmony with the United Nations — wherever possible and perhaps in places where the United Nations cannot work on its own.
I would now like to respond to the questions posed to me by the representative of the Russian Federation. I agree completely with what he said regarding the problem of balancing. I myself — so to speak — introduced the Slovenian chairmanship of the OSCE by saying that we need three R’s: reform, revitalization and rebalancing. By “rebalancing”, I meant creating more balance among the three components of our organization: the economic and ecological dimension, the human dimension and, of course, the political and military dimension. We need a more equal relationship, or attitude, towards all those components.
In that respect, I have proposed a couple of steps; we have also had discussions with representatives of the Russian Federation about conferences, workshops and working groups that have been proposed by that delegation. I have found the discussions to be extremely interesting and very important, relating, for instance, to conferences dealing with energy security and military doctrines. So, I think we should occasionally pause briefly and try to see what is in everyone’s — or the majority’s — interest.
I would certainly hope that we can resolve our differences regarding the scale of contributions so that we can deal with the problems in the outside world, and not be so preoccupied with internal problems. I think it would be wrong to conceive of the OSCE as an organization that is able to discuss only its own problems, rather than doing its work in the outside world where, indeed, it is very necessary and sometimes helps to solve serious problems, save lives and so on.
On the subject of Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo, I am in complete harmony with what Council members have said regarding the protection of human rights in Kosovo. I have visited Kosovo on a couple of occasions: after the events of March 2004 and again a few weeks ago. I must say that I was impressed by the progress I saw regarding the attitudes of the provisional leadership of Kosovo. I guess that my interlocutors in the leadership — and here I include everybody: the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Assembly and the President — realized that there can be no good solution for Kosovo without taking everybody in Kosovo on board, meaning the Serb and other minorities, and without taking on board everybody in the international community that has been involved in the resolution of the conflict in Kosovo in the past. Here, I am referring to the Group of Seven countries and, of course, to the United Nations and the OSCE specifically. We should try to do our best to prevent the events of March 2004 from being repeated, or even attempted. I think that Mr. Søren Jessen-Petersen, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, is doing very good work in Kosovo on this specific matter.
I have my worries, as I suppose everyone else does. These worries relate to the possible consequences resulting from the indictment of Ramush Haradinaj, the present Prime Minister of the provisional Government. I hope that the indictment will not result in mass Albanian uprisings. I do not think it will. It is certainly not in the interest of the Kosovar people to go in that direction. I hope that this or some other tense situation will not be used for provocation from some other side. I do not think that anybody has an interest in heightening the situation in Kosovo. I have the feeling that the status quo does not really suit anyone there. I think that there are some radical elements in the political life of the region that would like to maintain the status quo; there are also some criminal structures in Kosovo itself that would like the same. Therefore, we should be very careful when we deliberate on those issues.
Regarding cooperation between the OSCE and the United Nations, I would like to mention briefly that we feel that the role of the United Nations is key, as a new Security Council resolution would be necessary. Of course, I would be very happy if a decision by the Secretary-General to appoint a special envoy for Kosovo were coordinated with Brussels and Washington; those capitals are considering appointing their own envoys as well.
We are now in a precarious and difficult situation, but I think that there are plenty of good ideas and concepts. Thus, we should not see a repetition of the events of 2004.
Regarding the questions of the representative of the United Kingdom, I have already said that I feel that synergy should be promoted in the relationships not only between the OSCE and the United Nations, but also between the OSCE and the European Union (EU). I think that, as far as conflict prevention is concerned, we have common interests and many similar concepts. I am thinking, for instance, about Georgia. We have had a problem with continuing our border monitoring operation in Georgia. And, as I understand it, that project will be stopped, or has already been stopped, because there is no new mandate. In Vienna, we are now discussing a similar or related idea of training border guards. But, I also hear of interest on the part of the European Union to help us with some ideas of its own. If the EU can step in in this situation, that would, of course, be of great importance to Georgia; naturally, there would be no jealousy as far as the OSCE is concerned. In this respect, there would be no problem on the part of the OSCE, because I think that we are a project- and effect-oriented organization rather than one in competition with other organizations in processes like forum-shopping, if I may put it that way.
I think I have now responded to all the questions. I was delighted to have had the opportunity to answer those questions.
I thank Mr. Dimitrij Rupel, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia and Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, for the clarifications he has provided.
There are no further speakers. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.