Clinton urges stronger role for OSCE at summit

December 1, 2010 12:00 am

, ASTANA, Dec 1 – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday urged world leaders to give stronger backing to the OSCE by agreeing a concrete action plan for it to bolster security across the world.

Speaking at the first summit of the OSCE in 11 years in Kazakhstan, Clinton said participants should agree a "forward-looking framework for action" to implement the group\’s founding principle to prevent conflicts.

"Regional crises and transnational dangers threaten our people. Democracies are under pressure, and protracted conflicts remain dangerously unresolved," she said.

"The OSCE was designed to tackle multi-dimensional challenges just like these. But it can be effective only if participating states back its institutions and missions with political will."

She said that the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe "should play a greater role" in Afghanistan, noting that its states have 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) of borders with the country.

The OSCE also must be allowed to play a full role in preventing new conflicts and seeking peaceful solutions over breakaway regions in ex-Soviet states Georgia and Moldova as well as the Nagorny-Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, she said.

"There is no other regional organisation as well positioned to address the protracted conflicts in the OSCE area," she said.

The OSCE grew out of the cooperation organisation that served as a forum for dialogue between East and West at the height of the Cold War.

It aims to prevent conflicts through dialogue and help states recover from conflicts, although the goals sometimes becomes mired in disputes between members and its principle of operating on consensus.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev echoed Clinton\’s comments, telling the summit that it is was necessary to modernise the OSCE. "Indeed the organisation has started to lose its potential. We need to state this clearly," he said.

It remains unclear what final documents the 56 member states will be able to agree at the summit and the OSCE\’s Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut urged a strong final statement.

"Certain basic principles of the OSCE have been neglected. The lack of confidence between member states has limited the ability of the organisation to respond to crises and adapt itself to new threats," he told the leaders.

"The OSCE can only be as effective as you choose to make it," he added.


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