Estonia's OCSE ambassador: Talks so far have been encouraging

Estonia's OCSE representative Sander Soone.
Estonia's OCSE representative Sander Soone. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Reporting back from a meeting of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) ambassadors in Vienna, Austria on Thursday, Estonia's representative said that while there were plenty of question marks which still need resolving, the overall impression was encouraging and may point the way to further, productive talks.

OCSE ambassador for Estonia Sander Soone told ERR after Thursday's meeting that: "Today has brought developments in the sense that all OSCE participating states, including Russia, the U.S. and all EU member states have confirmed their readiness for dialogue, not for military action."

No harsh words were used at the meeting, and all emphasized their readiness to speak, he added.

Russia's recent concentration of forces on Ukraine's borders and its security demands on NATO have created a tense situation in Europe, one which observers say has not been seen for decades.

Thursday's OSCE meeting is the third security meeting between Russia and the West to be held this week, and is expected to ease tensions which have increased as a result of the massive withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine's borders

Soon added that: "The message from the Polish Foreign Minister was that the OSCE is the forum to be used for negotiations if there is interest and readiness to do so, and countries including Russia, the U.S. and the EU have said they share the view that OSCE is the platform, the forum and let 's get started."

The Polish minister said that the international security situation in the region was the worst it had been in perhaps 30 years.

"However, how exactly the dialogue and talks will take place has not been discussed today. This will be the topic for the coming weeks," he went on.

Soone said that he hoped the talks pointed the way to further fruitful discussions, adding that these would require a desire for substance to the same discussions.

 "Russia's leadership must decide whether it is ready to enter into a substantive dialogue as offered to them by the OSCE," Soone said.

Echoing comments made by International Center for Defense Studies (ICDS) chief Indrek Kannik, speaking to ETV on Thursday evening, Soone noted that a totally clear picture of the military situation on Russia's border with Ukraine was not yet available, though the talks are creating pre-conditions for this.

"Of course, this does not mean that the dangers are over," Soone added.

The hope remained that military conflict would be headed off, he went on.

Founded in 1973, OCSE includes members of European democracies as well as the U.S. and Canada, and mainly deals with security issues.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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