VIENNA, 26 June 2012 – Taking pragmatic steps in areas of common ground is the best way forward to building a security community in the OSCE area, speakers told the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference (ASRC) in Vienna today.
The two-day conference, which brings together some 400 representatives of the 56 OSCE participating States, aims at promoting a broad exchange of views on how existing OSCE instruments can advance the vision of a Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community, as outlined by leaders at the 2010 OSCE Summit in Astana.
Opening the event on behalf of the Irish Chairmanship, the Permanent Representative of Ireland to the OSCE Ambassador Eoin O’Leary emphasized the value of a step-by-step approach: “The ‘Helsinki + 40’ discussion that we have initiated with the participating States gives us the overall context within which we can apply the building blocks approach. The idea is to try to make progress in realising the common vision set out in the Astana Commemorative Declaration by using the upcoming fortieth anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act as a catalyst for future progress toward the Astana vision of a security community.”
“It is imperative that we move forward where we can, rather than waiting for the perfect day,” he added.
The Deputy Secretary General for the European External Action Service Helga Schmid; the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Grushko; the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US State Department Eric Rubin; and the Director General for International Security Affairs at the Foreign Ministry of Turkey Ambassador Bülent Meriç also spoke at the opening session.
OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, welcoming the input to the debate provided by the academic community and civil society during the first OSCE ‘Security Days’ event held in the run up to the ASRC, said: “The Security Days also represent an important building block, providing a platform for further Track II engagement and civil society’s contributions in the debate as we work towards the vision set out in Astana for a security community”. He noted the view expressed at that event that “a security community should not be artificially established but should rather grow progressively through a network of converging interstate, business, cultural and civil society relations.”
Over the two days, participants will discuss transnational threats, conflict prevention and resolution, arms control and confidence- and security-building measures as well as strengthening interaction with OSCE partner countries in the Mediterranean region and in Asia.