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Mr. Chairman,

Dear Ambassador Cuesta,

First of all, let me congratulate you on your appointment as Chair of the Informal Working Group (IWG) on Structured Dialogue and thank you for organizing today’s meeting.

We listened with great attention to your detailed and very inspiring information on the first results of the consultations with the delegations of the participating States and on the intention to continue them further, as well as the preliminary outline of the work plan and indicative calendar of events for the current year. We would like to thank you for the great work done, which lays a good foundation for further activities in this direction.

We were delighted to know that the Spanish Chairmanship is committed to continuing its efforts to bring more dynamism to the Structured Dialogue. To this end, as before, you have proposed a number of innovative points, both with regard to the general approach to the process and the topics discussed.

We paid attention and noted as a useful moment that your plan provides for one more meeting than last year. In addition, the well-proven two-day procedure for organizing meetings with the participation of experts on the first day and the continuation of the discussion at the political level on the second day will continue. We hope that this will help to make experts feel more free in presenting their points of view.

The fact that the IWG Chairmanship is considering the possibility of expanding the meeting places, planning to organize a “retreat”, in our opinion, may also have a certain stimulating effect on the revitalization of the exchange of views on the topics discussed.

In addition, the proposed chairmanship slogan emphasizing the key importance of “understanding for security” and its four components (“listen, reflect, share and learn the necessary lessons”), in our opinion, provides the correct and necessary setting for the subsequent dialogue.

As far as we understand, the plans of the Chairmanship are supposed to build work in two directions: the military-political aspects of security and current and future security challenges. We hope that the Chairman will present specific topics for discussion in the near future, and we look forward to the discussion on the document “Conceptual Framework for Arms Control” adopted in Lisbon. Of course, we will expect a reaction to the work plan from the capital.

Mr. Chairman,

The work of the informal working group undoubtedly builds on the results of previous years, and in this regard, we note the contribution of the chairmanships of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands to the development and intellectual saturation of this process.

The Russian Federation shares the view that “structured dialogue” is an important confidence-building measure aimed at de-escalating tensions and finding ways to restore security in Europe. It has also established itself as a valuable platform for professional contacts between military experts from capitals and a frank exchange of views on national threat perceptions.

We support the continuation of the “structured dialogue” this year and are ready to participate in a professional, constructive, depoliticized and calm discussion, including at the level of experts from the capitals. At the same time, we believe that both the dialogue itself and its possible results are important, as provided for by the OSCE Ministerial Council decision in Hamburg. This presupposes the striving of the participating States to find common solutions based on equality and mutual consideration of interests.

We proceed from the importance of preserving and deepening the military-political profile of the “structured dialogue”. Here we have a certain groundwork, which is important to continue and develop further. The meetings of the NWG also confirmed the importance of contacts between military representatives, including on the issues of preventing military incidents at sea and in the airspace above it, as well as on dangerous military activities. We see the benefit in the exchange of positive experience in the implementation of bilateral agreements in this area.

We have many overlapping interests in countering current and future security challenges and threats. A joint discussion of challenges and threats should enable us to reach a common understanding of a new model of European security and further development of its key elements.

However, since the “hybrid threats” were mentioned, then, as we have already noted many times, this topic, which has an openly confrontational potential, not only does not fit into the “Hamburg” mandate, but also hinders the progress of this format and is unlikely to help strengthen the process. … In contrast, it is worth recalling how much more productive – in contrast to the “hybrid” aspects – discussions between military practitioners on specific issues developed in the past year. We proceed from the premise that the SD should be aimed not at fruitless polemics, but at achieving concrete results in the military-political plane.

Mr. Chairman,

In modern conditions, stability in the Euro-Atlantic cannot be ensured without genuine cooperation. We are convinced that the purpose of our dialogue should be to find ways to restore confidence and reduce the degree of confrontation in the OSCE area. Since the current situation in the area of ​​responsibility of our Organization worries all participating States, it is logical to focus on patient work to reduce the military threat, de-escalate the situation, reduce military confrontation (return to the status quo at least at the beginning of 2014) and military activity based on reciprocity. along the borders of Russia and NATO countries, restoring military relations on a bilateral basis, restoring confidence and improving mechanisms for preventing incidents and dangerous military activities.

For our part, we intend, in good faith, to continue informing the participating States about the conduct of surprise checks of combat readiness, exercises, and to invite military attaches of foreign states to them as observers.

By the way, two years ago, two years ago, concrete proposals on the mutual transfer of the exercise areas from the contact line between Russia and NATO were submitted to the alliance by our General Staff of the Armed Forces. The same proposals were made on aviation security over the Baltic and on agreeing on the parameters of a safe approach of ships and aircraft. Unfortunately, we still have not received a constructive response.

Dear Mr. Chairman,

The Russian Federation is ready to continue to participate in “structured dialogue” events, but notes that if the discussion is politicized or if confrontational topics are drawn in, the conversation will not work.

In conclusion, let me thank you once again for your detailed and thorough presentation and wish you and your excellent team much success in fulfilling the challenging mission of Chairmanship of the Informal Working Group on Structured Dialogue. For our part, we look forward to close cooperation with you and are ready to provide all the necessary assistance.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.



EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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