VILNIUS - The international system's failure to prevent Russia's war in Ukraine should raise fundamental questions, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, adding that the "consensus rule" often paralyses any possibility to act.
"While there is a coalition of states that pushes back against Russia’s blatant aggression, shouldn’t that also be a primary role of the global and European security architecture. The very institutions that were created to prevent and act against the kind of assault that is currently ongoing in our region? To enforce the “never again” – words that dot countless killing fields from Auschwitz to Katyn, from Srebrenica to Bucha to who knows where next?" Landsbergis said on Thursday, addressing the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.
The minister also raised the issue of whether the OSCE was still capable of standing for the fundamental principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of borders and prohibition to illegal use force.
For decades, he said, consensus-based decision-making had been considered the OSCE's main strength.
"Alas, it is efficient only when good will and unity of purpose exists on all sides. But once a heavily armed member state attempts to invade its neighbor, the consensus rule paralyses our decision-making capacity," Lithuania's top diplomat said.
"If the tools were not as comprehensive as we all thought – let us strengthen them. If there was not enough political will to act – let us build it," he urged.
The Lithuanian foreign minister also spoke about the need to decide "whether the Helsinki Final Act principles are guidelines or rules"
"If we have committed to a set of rules, there should be no more ambiguity when these principles are violated. Either we stand by those principles, or we don’t," he said.
Landsbergis also called on members of the OSCE Permanent Council increase their military assistance to Ukraine and step up their efforts to help the war-torn country survive this winter.
The minister also stressed the need to up pressure on Russia and Belarus through isolation, sanctions and accountability.