After our recent visit to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, we, the ambassadors to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) representing France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States are more resolved than ever to promoting the concept of comprehensive security with Central Asia.
The OSCE is a the largest regional organization for discussing and supporting European and Eurasian security consisting of 57 countries. It recognizes that security is enhanced when we view it and advance it collectively — strengthening economic, environmental and human security in parallel and addressing issues of military security and transnational threats. Doing so makes us all safer, more secure and more prosperous.
We are all now facing a significant challenge to global security from Russia’s aggression against Ukraine — a step which undermines the foundational principles of European and Eurasian security and which is having global implications on food and energy security, as well as destabilizing economic effects in neighboring countries. Our countries support OSCE principles and the rules based international order, including territorial integrity, sovereignty, non-use of force and the inviolability of borders. We urge Russia to end this war and withdraw its troops fully from Ukraine.
We cannot take our eyes off developments in other parts of the OSCE region. We recognize there are challenges particularly stemming from the crisis in Afghanistan — with threats to regional stability. There are various tools being utilized in response — including on border management, counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism. OSCE activities already help to address vulnerabilities and support connectivity and development for the region. We thank our Central Asian partners for their continued work and support on issues related to Afghanistan.
The OSCE field operations in all Central Asian countries, in cooperation with all OSCE institutions, add real value through their expertise, advocacy, convening of conflicting groups, and engagement at all levels throughout the country.
We have a number of observations from our trip. Firstly, we recognize the importance of working together on security challenges — many threats we face are shared and our countries stand ready to cooperate, including in using the instruments provided by the OSCE.
Secondly, we recognize the importance of deeper and sustainable connectivity in Central Asia for economic security. The OSCE plays an important role in enhancing trade, transport and digital facilitation. Prosperity, built by sustainable connectivity and cooperation amongst peaceful states, is central to resilience. Economic security is strengthened through a robust approach to anti-corruption, good governance, rule of law and economic diversification.
Thirdly, we see the importance of greater cooperation on climate and energy issues, including water management and transition to green energy. The climate crisis poses an existential threat to our future. The OSCE can play an important role in advancing our cooperation on climate and security, for instance in water diplomacy and water management. As climate change exacerbates water scarcity, transboundary co-operation will only become more important. The OSCE is already playing a supportive role in fostering greater bilateral and regional cooperation in these areas, including on sustainable energy production. It also undertakes important work on the protection of critical energy infrastructure and advancing energy security in Central Asia.
Finally, security is strengthened by media freedom, open, transparent and fair elections, and freedom of expression in the entire OSCE region. Human security and gender equality for all are key pillars of security at home, regional security and security across the whole of the OSCE region. The OSCE — through its field operations, ODIHR, the Representative on Freedom of the Media, the High Commissioner on National Minorities and the work of the thematic departments of the Secretariat can support crucial reforms.
We thank our hosts and partners in Central Asia for the warm hospitality shown during our visit to the region. Central Asia is an important region. We stand ready to further cooperate on the whole spectrum of comprehensive security issues, including through the OSCE.
Ambassador Christine Fages, Permanent Representative of France to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Ambassador Gesa Bräutigam, Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Ambassador Neil Bush, Delegation of the United Kingdom to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Ambassador Michael Carpenter, Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe