Madam President, Excellency,

Allow me to thank you for organizing this meeting, and the Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, His Excellency Ian Borg, for his briefing. Rest assured that Switzerland will continue to fully support you in this difficult task; and we particularly welcome your attention to the resilience of the organization.

Almost 50 years ago, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe adopted the Helsinki Final Act. At a time of great division, this act established the basic principles of cooperation between the participating states, and helped, or begun, to re-establish trust between them. It made it possible to implement a global approach to security, linking it to human rights, the environment and economic issues. Thus, the Final Act has laid the foundations for a peaceful, rules-based order in the OSCE region - as also envisaged by the United Nations Charter.

But today, 50 years on, the European security architecture and this trust are in turmoil. Russia's military aggression against Ukraine has violated the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, as well as the United Nations Charter. In recent weeks, new strikes have killed and wounded hundreds of civilians in Ukraine. It is urgent that international humanitarian law and human rights are finally respected.

Even after the onset of Russia's military aggression, the OSCE's long-standing commitment in Ukraine continued with the establishment of the support program, which Switzerland welcomes and actively supports.

In the South Caucasus, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan continues to demand our full attention. On another note, the OSCE is playing an essential role in the prevention and peaceful management of the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In this context, we welcome the holding in April of the 60th session of the Geneva International Discussions (GID) [co-chaired by the OSCE], during which participants reconfirmed their commitment to this process.

With regard to the Transnistrian settlement process, we underline the OSCE's commitment to a peaceful, comprehensive and lasting settlement of disputes. The recent visit to the region by His Excellency, the Chairman-in-Office, was an important signal in this context.

In the Western Balkans, the OSCE's network of local offices contributes to the promotion of democratic governance, elections, human rights, as well as economic activities and the inclusion of young people, all essential factors for lasting peace.

Madam President,

One of the OSCE's strengths lies in its well-developed tools. It is available to participating countries as an impartial mediator and observer. The OSCE has instruments such as the Moscow Mechanism, which aims to investigate allegations of serious human rights violations by OSCE participating States, currently underway in Ukraine, or the Vienna Mechanism, which enables participating States to request information on the human rights situation within a participating State. Independent election observation is an essential contribution to the establishment of democratic governance, and must be guaranteed. In addition, field operations continue to play an important role in the implementation of OSCE commitments by the various participating States, and contribute to conflict prevention and post-conflict monitoring.

The OSCE's strength lies precisely in its holistic approach to security. This is why the Helsinki Accords, even and especially in these times of heightened pressure, must remain our benchmark for Europe's common peace and security architecture. For the UN and this Council, the OSCE remains an indispensable partner as an inclusive platform for dialogue in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter. And, as stated in the Helsinki Accords, we must remember that "political will, in the interest of peoples, to improve and intensify their relations and to contribute in Europe to peace, security, justice and cooperation as well as to rapprochement among themselves and with the other States of the world”

I thank you.