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Statement by Iceland in exchange of views with Ms Ann Linde, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and current Chair-in-Office of the OSCE

Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers, 1402nd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies. Statement delivered by Ambassador Ragnhildur Arnljótsdóttir.

Mr. Chair,

We thank Ms. Ann Linde, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, for her visit to the Council of Europe and for presenting the priorities of the Swedish OSCE Chairpersonship.

The OSCE - as a unique and inclusive forum of States working for stability, peace and democracy for more than a billion people - is more important than ever as we continue to seek comprehensive security through dialogue in all three dimensions.

We welcome Sweden’s emphasis on the fundamental tasks of the OSCE as well as Sweden’s dedication to contribute to resolving conflicts in accordance with international law. The security situation in the OSCE area remains uncertain and the OSCE and the international community as a whole have an important role to play in dealing with conflicts and in finding ways forward. In this regard, we highly appreciate the country visits carried out by Ms Linde in her capacity as OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.

The common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law which provide the basis for the relationship between the OSCE and the CoE have been further tested during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Together, the two organizations can create effective coordinated responses to the threats and challenges facing the citizens of the OSCE and the CoE area.

Mr. Chair,

Iceland is fully committed to protecting and promoting the fundamental rights and freedoms of all people. Comprehensive security must mean security for all and everywhere.

Sweden’s commitment to promoting gender equality as part of its Chairpersonship is especially welcome and fully in line with Iceland’s national priorities. As we are all aware, each year in Europe, thousands of women are harassed, injured or even killed by intimate partners or family members. This challenge is common to both the OSCE and the CoE and we welcome the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office highlighting the importance of the CoE Istanbul Convention in this regard. Allow me to use this opportunity to reiterate Iceland’s regret over Turkey’s withdrawal as we call on all member States of the Council of Europe to ratify the Convention.

Mr. Chair,

In conclusion, we would like to ask the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office how can we achieve greater synergies between the two organizations and if she sees any areas of overlap or duplication of work, taking into consideration the differences in membership and working methods.

I thank you.

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