Publication: Fortnight in Review Volume: 6 Issue: 23

The five countries voiced unprecedentedly frank criticism of the OSCE’s ineffectiveness, as evidenced by its failure to uphold its own principles in Moldova, the Caucasus and Central Asia: “We must regretfully note the OSCE’s lack of resolve and energy regarding the settlement of the so-called ‘frozen’ conflicts. The years pass by, but one cannot speak about successes in settling [those conflicts]. We are firmly convinced that the organization cannot and should not become reconciled with the present situation in the Abkhaz and Tskhinvali [South Ossetia] regions of Georgia, the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and the Transdniester region of Moldova.” The GUUAM countries, moreover, urged the OSCE to engage in peacekeeping operations and to hold “all” countries accountable for carrying out the commitments undertaken at last year’s OSCE summit.

However couched in diplomatic language, that passage in GUUAM’s statement is a cry of alarm. The Kremlin is in partial breach of those commitments regarding Georgia and in total breach regarding Moldova. Yet the OSCE is failing to correct–or at least condemn–those breaches. In Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan, the OSCE seems powerless to end the Russian control over mediating and peacekeeping activities and the Russian arming of local proxies. That sense of alarm can only grow in these three GUUAM countries after the failure of this OSCE conference.