Friday 7 May 2010

Joe Biden proposes OSCE reform

Joe Biden spoke in front of the European Parliament yesterday (see my post), and so we almost missed that he has also proposed a reform of the OSCE on the same day.

The vice president of the United States has published his proposal for OSCE reform - the US is a member of the OSCE - in the International Harald Tribune, a proposal which sound a little like a reaction to the Russian position, and may be kind of the US proposal for the "Corfu Process".

Different to Russian foreign minister Lavrov, Biden doesn't propose that OSCE takes over the functions of NATO to provide hard security on the European continent. That is no surprise, to be honest. To the contrary, he underlines that there is "the right of all countries to choose their own alliances freely" which is a clearly against Russian demands that NATO should not be enlarged towards the east.

What Biden proposes is a "OSCE Crisis Prevention Mechanism" that seems to be mainly a conclusion from the Russian-Georgian war and it is definitely a much smaller reform proposal than what Russia is envisaging.

I even have difficulties to see the difference to what OSCE already does today, for instance in the cases of Nagorno Karabakh (a frozen conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia), Transnistria (a breakaway region of Moldova) or regarding the tensions between Turkey and Armenia.

So now we kind of have positions from Russia and from the USA - will we get an official EU position this year or while they try to wait for the Lithuanian OSCE presidency next year...?

Picture: © european_parliament / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0