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Opening the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Geneva, Swiss Chair says collective effort needed to restore stability and rebuild common understanding of European security

osce picGENEVA, October 04, 2014 - Didier Burkhalter, Swiss Foreign Minister and Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, gave an opening address to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, which is meeting in Geneva for its autumn session this weekend. Recalling that the ‘Helsinki Final Act’ was negotiated in the very same conference building in Geneva four decades ago, he argued that the vision and determination of the CSCE founding fathers should be an inspiration to all to embark on collective efforts to overcome the current crisis of European security.

Outlining his three priorities for the OSCE to continue its efforts at de-escalating the situation in Ukraine, to feed the lessons of the Ukraine crisis into the Organization’s Helsinki+40 reform process, and to launch a reflection process on the broader crisis of European security, he emphasized the important role of the Parliamentary Assembly on all these accounts.

The erosion of the consensus on European security had set in more than a decade ago, Burkhalter continued. As developments regarding Ukraine had aggravated this crisis of European security, there should be no further delay in addressing these issues, he added. “How can States recommit to the normative foundations of European security as reflected in the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter? What measures could be adopted to rebuild confidence and reduce perceptions of threat? How can former cornerstones of pan-European security, such as conventional arms control, be rebuilt? What will it take to reduce the risk of further tension, render security in Europe indivisible, and advance the Astana goal of the OSCE as a security community?” the Swiss Chair asked. He said that these issues should be approached with an open mind, while making clear that the Helsinki principles and OSCE commitments were not up for renegotiations, but rather had to be addressed in terms of more effective implementation.

Burkhalter said that a Chairmanship-commissioned panel of eminent persons with representatives of all regions of the OSCE would be launched in the context of the Ministerial Council in Basel to produce a report on the current situation and propose a set of recommendations concerning the next steps to be taken in strengthening European security. He concluded by inviting the Parliamentary Assembly to engage with this panel and to contribute to the respective debates.

Read the speech at: http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/de/home/recent/media/single.html?id=54710

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Roland Bless/Spokesperson of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship/Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the OSCE/ Vienna

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