CORFU, Greece, 28 June 2009 - The informal meeting of OSCE foreign ministers on the Greek island of Corfu concluded today with the launch of the "Corfu Process" to tackle European security challenges with concrete steps to restore confidence and prepare the ground for the ministers' next meeting in Athens in December.
"We just completed a fascinating, wide-ranging and frank discussion on the future of European security," said the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. "While this is a time to celebrate the remarkable progress the OSCE states have achieved together over the past two decades, the Ministers concurred that it is also time to consider that much work remains undone."
Bakoyannis said that traditional security problems remained unresolved as new threats and challenges continued to emerge. These included protracted conflicts and other unresolved tensions, the suspended CFE Treaty, the need to strengthen democracy and rule of law in parts of the region, the economic crisis, terrorism, trafficking and instability in neighbouring regions.
The meeting ended with agreement on the "Corfu Process" - steps to take the dialogue on European security forward, said the OSCE Chairperson.
"We agreed on the need for an open, sustained, wide-ranging and inclusive dialogue on security and concurred that the OSCE is a natural forum to anchor this dialogue, because it is the only regional organization bringing together all states from Vancouver to Vladivostok on an equal basis."
She added that OSCE documents such as the Platform for Co-operative Security provided a framework so that other security institutions could also contribute to the process.
Bakoyannis said she had tasked the Permanent Representative of Greece to the OSCE in Vienna, Ambassador Mara Marinaki, to push ahead with the Corfu Process with an eye to the OSCE's Ministerial Council in Athens in December.
"As a next step and for the preparation of the Athens Ministerial Council, I have decided to ask my Permanent Representative in Vienna to explore with participating States ways for a more structured dialogue, and more specifically the priority areas that our dialogue should focus on and the modalities for its conduct," she said.