I warmly welcome all participants of the 20th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Throughout the year the Chairmanship-in-Office has worked hard to lay the necessary groundwork for the success of this event, promoting a balanced and comprehensive agenda of dialogue and cooperation within the OSCE that would allow for adoption of meaningful decisions in all three dimensions. I do trust that translating our proposals for decisions in Kyiv into reality will strengthen the OSCE and implementation of relevant commitments by all participating States.
This meeting of the Ministerial Council takes place against the background of peaceful public demonstrations in Kyiv which highlight observance by Ukraine of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association. As a number of acute political issues arise on the national agenda it is critically important that they are addressed by the government and the opposition through peaceful dialogue, without resorting to violence or inflammatory rhetoric and without external interference. Peaceful political dialogue and actions fully compliant with the national legislation is the only practical way forward in the interests of a stable and prosperous Ukraine.
I deeply regret the recent incidents of the use of force which are now subject to thorough investigation. These investigations are bound to ensure that the citizens of Ukraine fully enjoy their constitutional rights and the journalists are safe to perform their work which is fundamentally important for the development of a democratic society.
Kyiv, 5 December 2013