OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
c/o President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Margareta Cederfeldt,
1055 Copenhagen K
One year of war is too much!
Ceasefire – Dialogue – Peace Negotiations Now
Dear President Margareta Cederfeldt,
We very much welcome Austria’s compliance with its obligation under international law and its assurance that all representatives of the Russian Government will be granted visas for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. We continue to welcome Russia’s return to the Parliamentary Assembly in Vienna on Feb. 23rd and 24th, 2023 will participate. The OSCE is a forum for political dialogue. Dialogue and negotiation are challenging in wartime, but urgent.
The OSCE is the only security organization in which everyone who is important to the European security architecture sits at the same table on an equal footing. It arose out of confrontation during the Cold War and was founded by countries that at the time – had very different interests, but wanted to prevent escalation.
With 57 member states, the OSCE is the only security organization in which all European countries, the successor states of the Soviet Union, the United States, Canada, and Mongolia are represented (Mongolia became the 57th participating state on November 20th, 2012).
Even if the future of the OSCE seems fragile, its work is more necessary than ever. A push by Ukraine to expel Russia from the OSCE has been rebuffed. Helga Schmidt, OSCE Secretary General, spoke out in favor of Russia remaining and set up a new program with a voluntary group of states, including the Federal Republic. As of November 1st, 2022, the OSCE continues to support Ukraine in its reforms and reconstruction.
The OSCE has not yet found its new role after Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine. But we in the West hopefully remember that it was she who once ensured trust among bitter enemies. And that right now is the time to give it more attention, money, and expertise. We would also like to point this out with this letter.
Europe faces the task of restoring peace on the continent and securing it in the long term. This requires the development of a strategy to end the war as quickly as possible.
We condemn Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine, which is contrary to international law. We call on the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to withdraw all troops from the territory of Ukraine. All, suspected war crimes must be investigated and those responsible must be tried at the International Criminal Court.
Ukraine has so far been able to defend itself against Russia’s brutal war of aggression thanks in part to massive economic sanctions and military support from Europe and the United States. The longer the measures continue, however, the more unclear it becomes what war aim is associated with them. A Ukrainian victory with the recapture of all occupied territories, including the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and Crimea, is considered unrealistic by military experts because Russia is militarily superior and has the capacity for further military escalation. This – another severe escalation – is expected especially in the event of a reconquest attack on Crimea.
Western countries providing military support to Ukraine must therefore ask themselves what exactly their objective is and whether (and for how long) the supply of heavy offensive weapons continues to be the right course of action. Continuing the war with the goal of Ukraine’s complete victory over Russia means thousands and thousands more war casualties dying for a goal that does not seem realistic.
Moreover, the consequences of the war are not limited to Ukraine. Its continuation is causing massive humanitarian, economic, and environmental emergencies around the world. In Africa, a famine catastrophe is looming that could cost millions of lives. Rapidly rising prices, energy, and food shortages have already led to unrest in many countries. Fertilizer shortages will also have a global impact if the war continues. High casualty rates and destabilization of the global situation are to be expected. These impending dramatic consequences are also being addressed at the international political level (G7, G20, UN).
The West must make every effort to ensure that the parties reach a negotiated settlement in a timely manner. It alone can prevent a war of attrition lasting for years, with its fatal local and global consequences, as well as a military escalation that may go as far as the use of nuclear weapons. Germany bears a great historical responsibility and is well placed to support the people in the affected regions in reconstruction for a dignified coexistence, increasing liberation from the pressures of war, and for civilian development.
We call on you to use the OSCE as a whole, with all its peace-building and peace-securing resources, as well as its now upcoming Parliamentary Assembly, to begin ceasefire negotiations.
With kind regards
International Munich Peace Conference