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Cablegate: Osce/Permanent Council: Response to the Report

Published: Wed 28 Oct 2009 10:46 PM
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TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM OSCE UP RS KV MK KZ HU LO GG
SUBJECT: OSCE/PERMANENT COUNCIL: RESPONSE TO THE REPORT
BY THE OSCE HIGH COMMISSIONER ON NATIONAL MINORITIES, KNUT
VOLLEBAEK
1. Post is authorized to make the following statement at the
October 29, 2009, meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in
Vienna:
Begin Text:
Thank you, Madam Chair.
The United States warmly welcomes Ambassador Vollebaek back
to the Permanent Council and thanks him for his thorough and
thoughtful report.
As we mentioned during last week's Corfu process meeting,
treatment of minorities is at the heart of many of Europe's
potential, active or frozen conflicts. The persistence of
tension and conflict over minority issues means it is
imperative for us to do even more to address not only the
causes, but also the conditions or actions that can
exacerbate conflict.
The United States continues to strongly support High
Commissioner Vollebaek and his team, and their persistent and
even-handed focus on improving education, participation by
minorities in public life, and relations between states and
minorities in neighboring states with whom they share ethnic
affinities.
We welcome your efforts, Ambassador Vollebaek, to improve
bilateral relations between Russia and Ukraine on these
issues, and are pleased to see that both parties have reacted
positively to your recommendations thus far.
We are particularly concerned about tensions in the Crimean
peninsula, and agree on the need to develop a comprehensive
strategy to deal with this situation. We appreciate your
facilitation of the drafting of legislation regarding
formerly deported minorities in Ukraine that would
meaningfully address disputes over land, property issues and
cultural rights. We are also interested in receiving more
information on the project "Culture of Good Neighborhood,"
and wonder if it could serve as a model for other regions.
In Kazakhstan, we appreciate your work to ensure that
minority populations -- particularly the Uighur and Uzbek
communities -- are fully integrated into the Kazakhstani
educational system. We welcome your plans to monitor -- in
conjunction with the government -- the educational situation
of Uighurs in Almaty and its region. Like you, we commend
Kazakhstan for taking up your recommendations on including
minority language schools in the trilingual education program
and for unambiguously ensuring that promotion of the official
state language will not be at the expense of any other
language spoken in Kazakhstan. These are positive
developments.
Your work in Southeast Europe is helping to consolidate gains
made in interethnic relations and is an important part of
building the foundation for long-term stability. We highly
value your efforts, in coordination with other international
organizations and bilateral donors, to assist authorities in
Macedonia to address the issue of ethnically separated
education. Likewise, we commend your work in Kosovo to help
the public understand the concept and value of transitional
justice and to keep the issue on the political agenda, and
your work on minority education issues.
We strongly support your continued engagement in Georgia,
where your efforts to call attention to the situation of
ethnic minorities, particularly in Gali and Akhalgori, are
especially important. We remain concerned by the issues
identified in your November 2008 joint report with ODIHR on a
lack of human rights protections in the war-affected areas of
Georgia. We once more urge the immediate implementation of
the report's recommendations, and reiterate our call for a
follow-up assessment mission to ascertain the current human
rights and humanitarian situation in the Abkhazia and South
Ossetia regions of Georgia. We look forward to your planned
visit early next year, and hope you and your office will
continue your efforts to prevent further conflict and ensure
respect for human rights and humanitarian law throughout
Georgia.
We applaud Slovakia and Hungary's decision to work with you
to find common resolutions for resolving tensions in their
bilateral relations. We call on other participating States
to follow this example and work together with the High
Commissioner to address areas of concern before the situation
escalates.
Ambassador Vollebaek, we commend your essential work to
prevent conflict on minority issues, which also advances
respect for human rights and promotes inter-ethnic harmony
throughout the OSCE area. We wish you every success in your
work for the upcoming year.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
END TEXT
CLINTON
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