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The risk of a war in Europe is now significantly higher than at any time in the past 30 years, said the chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, Interfax reports.

“The risk of war in the OSCE area seems to be higher now than at any time in the past 30 years,” Rau said at the opening of the OSCE's Permanent Council.

“At present, the member states are faced with various challenges to peace and security. Protracted conflicts, military confrontation, radicalization, terrorism, together with the weakening of the arms control regime, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, lead to increased uncertainty, unpredictability and increased fear in our societies,” he added.

He said that the OSCE, for its part, needs to focus on efforts to solve security problems in Eastern Europe, in particular, for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“We will be open to dialogue and ready to present initiatives aimed at achieving mutual understanding and reducing tensions in the OSCE region. (...) We want to pay special attention to improving the security situation, contributing to the search for a peaceful solution to regional conflicts,” said Rau. “We need to focus on a peaceful solution to the conflict around Ukraine in accordance with the Minsk agreements and respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Ukraine,” he said.

“For several weeks now, we have been confronted with the possibility of a major military escalation in Eastern Europe. We have recently heard demands for security guarantees, which are an important part of the OSCE area,” Rau said.

“We are not indifferent to the security objections voiced by member countries. (...) I believe that the OSCE is the right platform for discussing every aspect of comprehensive security,” he stressed.

At the same time, he noted that the situation with a possible military escalation in the region requires "an international assessment and a proper response."

Earlier, the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, noted that the OSCE, together with the EU and NATO, is a key player in ensuring European security.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov at a briefing following the talks between Russia and the United States, in turn, said that the decision on further contacts with Washington on security guarantees would be made following the consultations between Russia and NATO and within the OSCE.

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