SEBASTIAN KURZ, Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria, said he belonged to a generation born into a globalized world, and that globalization was not a threat, but a fact of life that had brought enormous benefits. However, it had also created new challenges. Events which took place in other parts of the world could have a direct impact on everyone, and the world had seen a dramatic rise in threats and instability. The more the world became interconnected, the more everyone had a responsibility not to look away from the events elsewhere. The world needed the United Nations, the European Union, and the Organization for Security Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to achieve security and stability. As chair of the OSCE in 2017, Austria would seek to rebuild trust and defuse conflicts in Ukraine, Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria.
Conflicts further afield were also a concern, he said. Austria was outraged by attacks on medical facilities on aid convoys in Syria, and called for those responsible to be brought to justice. Violent extremism abroad was a serious threat. Thousands of Europeans who had joined Da’esh posed a threat when they returned home. It was essential to fight and defeat Da’esh in Syria, Iraq and Libya, for without doing so, there would be no safe havens in the world.
Nuclear disarmament remained “the number one unfinished business”, he said. Recent nuclear tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea served as a warning signal. It was necessary to get rid of all nuclear weapons, and the first step to eliminate weapons of mass destruction was to prohibit them through legally binding norms. Together with other Member States, Austria would table a draft resolution to convene negotiations on a legally binding comprehensive instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons in 2017. But that was not enough: it was also necessary to put an end to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, which overwhelmingly targeted civilians. Austria planned to convene a meeting in October to support that goal and hoped for everyone’s support.