OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Mircea Geoana, addresses the 10th
Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Paris, 6
July 2001. (Josue Anselmo/OSCE)
PARIS, 6 July 2001 (OSCE) - Addressing the 10th annual meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA), the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Mircea Geoana, stressed that the ten years of activities of the PA reflected ten years of dramatic change in Europe. "From a forum of confrontation, the OSCE mutated into a forum of dialogue". Yesterday's adversaries turned out to be today's friends and partners. The Chairman-in-Office identified today's challenges as being the economic differences between and within states, organized crime, corruption and external security risks.
Reviewing recent developments in the Organization's area, the Romanian Foreign Minister welcomed the restoration of democracy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the rapid advances the authorities are making towards full integration into Europe. In particular, the decision by the Serbian Government to transfer Slobodan Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia "was a courageous one but the right one". In Kosovo, following the adoption of the Legal Framework, plans are well advanced for the holding of province-wide elections in November, which are being prepared by the OSCE. He also noted that the recent first round of elections in Albania had marked progress towards a fully democratic electoral process.
The OSCE Chairman-in-Office expressed concern about the situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where instability could have an impact on the whole region. "There is a real chance for lasting peace and security which preserves the territorial integrity of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and which addresses the concerns of the ethnic Albanian community, provided all parties are committed to political dialogue and accept that a military solution is not the answer", Mr. Geoana said, appealing to all parties to respect the cease-fire. Another matter of concern for the OSCE was the continued evidence of nationalist attitudes and a resistance to building a genuinely multi-ethnic society in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mr. Geoana also regretted that throughout the region, the return of refugees and internally displaced persons remained slow.
Elsewhere in OSCE's area, Mr. Geoana encouraged Belarus authorities to improve the framework for the Presidential elections and expressed regret at the absence of any breakthrough in the talks on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. "OSCE stands ready to play its part in the monitoring of an eventual settlement", he stressed
Mentioning Chechnya, where the OSCE's Assistance Group recently returned, Mr. Geoana outlined the difficulties ahead: the building up of the population's confidence and the implementation of the Organization's mandate. "We do not expect miracles", he said, "but we fully intend to do what we can to promote a political solution to the conflict and to facilitate the necessary humanitarian assistance."
Among the difficulties faced by Central Asian states, Mr. Geoana mentioned the security threat from Afghanistan, religious extremism and the menace of drug trafficking and organized crime. The OSCE Chairman-in-Office noted that Central Asian governments had expressed a wish for more activity from the OSCE on the security and economic dimensions. He also commended OSCE Parliamentary Assembly initiative for a TransAsian Parliamentary Forum.
Globally, the Chairman-in-Office stressed the invaluable role played by the Parliamentary Assembly. "Your involvement in democracy-building activities, in election-monitoring and in building Parliamentary links in particular with the newer democracies is vitally important", he said.
Mr. Geoana outlined issues to be discussed in the next OSCE Ministerial Council due to take place in Bucharest in early December. Among them are the return of refugees and displaced persons, illegal trafficking and organized crime, an enhanced OSCE Economic Dimension, and the implementation of the commitments on Georgia and Moldova made at the Istanbul Summit of the OSCE.
The Chairman-in-Office concluded by proposing an OSCE Summit in 2002. "2002 will be a significant year for European and global security, with decisive Summits of both NATO and the European Union. An OSCE Summit in 2002 would complete the triangle of the three organizations most closely concerned with promoting security and stability in Europe. In this way will we create a real Triple Crown for the historic decisions governing the future of our continent."
For further information, please contact Josue Anselmo, OSCE Spokesperson, mobile (+43) 664 325 3698.