Swedish ‘female empowerment’ declaration blocked at OSCE council

Swedish 'female empowerment' declaration blocked at OSCE council
Sweden's foreign minister Ann Linde (front right) with other leaders who attended the OSCE council meeting in Stockholm. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/POOL/AFP
The Vatican lined up in an unexpected alliance with Russia on Friday to block a Swedish proposal to boost the role of women in resolving international disputes.

Sweden, which invented the concept of “feminist diplomacy” and holds the rotating chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), had tabled the non-binding resolution.

But the text, which has not been made public, was blocked “by Russia and the Vatican”, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said at the end of a meeting of the organisation in Stockholm.

The declaration, which focused on “the economic empowerment of women”, was intended to affirm the need to strengthen their place in society to promote global security and their role in conflict resolution.

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Few texts are adopted at the OSCE, because of the requirement for unanimity and the divergent views of its members, especially Moscow. But Sweden had high hopes of getting this text adopted and was surprised to see the Vatican helping to torpedo it.

Moscow and the Holy See “do not agree on working on gender equality issues, which I deeply regret,” Linde said at the final press conference of the OSCE ministerial meeting. “I had really hoped that a decision would be taken on this, I am so disappointed,” she said.

Of the 20 or so resolutions prepared by the Swedish during their chairmanship, only one was adopted, on climate.

The most sensitive text, on Ukraine, was blocked before it was even discussed in plenary. Moscow’s veto was inevitable, as the resolution stated that Crimea is Ukrainian, according to diplomats.

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