DUBLIN, 6 December 2012 – Foreign ministers and top officials from the 57 OSCE participating States heard calls for further efforts to create a security community based on shared values at the opening of the 19th OSCE Ministerial Council in Dublin today.
“We have made much progress, and we come to the Ministerial Council firm in our resolve to advance our shared aim of a common, comprehensive and indivisible security community; a community of shared values,” said Chairperson-in-Office, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore, opening the meeting.
He outlined progress made during Ireland’s 2012 OSCE Chairmanship on protracted conflicts, particularly on the Transdniestrian settlement process, where Ireland has shared its own experience of conflict resolution, as well as on addressing transnational threats. He also highlighted his country’s efforts to promote good governance by sharing its work on seizing criminal assets.
Acknowledging ongoing difficulties the Chairperson urged ministers to work together to adopt a balanced set of decisions, including on human rights issues such as media and Internet freedom and combating racism and xenophobia, as well as on good governance and military co-operation.
Referring to recommendations presented to him from civil society representatives following a parallel NGO event yesterday, the Chairperson added: “OSCE participating States have already formally recognized the need for protection of human rights defenders, but concrete work in this area remains disappointing and is something that requires further attention in the months and years ahead.”
He also urged ministers to adopt Ireland’s Helsinki+40 proposal that set outs a roadmap for the OSCE’s work as it approaches the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act in 2015.
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Riccardo Migliori, who recently visited refugees in Turkey, spoke of the importance of the OSCE continuing to strengthen its partnerships in the Mediterranean region. "This type of engagement is critical to raising the visibility of the OSCE in a region where we are badly needed and in places where stability today is vital for our whole region's security tomorrow," he said.
Recognizing the differences between States on some of the more contentious issues up for discussion, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said: “One of the OSCE’s comparative strengths is that diverging views and differences are not covered up, but rather aired and debated with the overarching goal of finding a common basis to move forward. The OSCE is a mirror of the realities on the ground as we strive to make progress towards the vision of a Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community as set out in the Astana Commemorative Declaration.”
“While differences as to the balance between the priority issues on our agenda have always been there, we need to avoid that narrow interests prevail over common ones,” he added.
The meeting will continue tomorrow. A news conference by the Chairperson will follow its conclusion. Live webcasting is available at: http://www.osce.org/event/mc_2012/live