VIENNA, 9 March 2006 - An OSCE Spokesperson responded today to several misleading news agency stories about the visit of a delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE to the detention centre at the US naval base of Guantanamo.
The stories followed a press conference in Brussels on Monday by the President of the Belgian Senate, Anne-Marie Lizin, and others in her delegation that visited Guantanamo last week.
The OSCE Spokesperson said that, in the light of these reports, he wished to make it clear the Organization itself had not sent an expert to Guantanamo: "The person quoted in several of the stories as "an OSCE expert", Professor Alain Grignard, accompanied the delegation despatched by the Parliamentary Assembly, based in Copenhagen, but he was not employed or commissioned by the OSCE."
Without commenting on the views expressed by any members of the delegation at the press conference in Brussels, he added that the statements should therefore not be taken as being made on behalf of the 55-nation body, which is headquartered in Vienna.
He added that, contrary to persistent news agency stories, the OSCE was not preparing a report on Guantanamo for presentation in July: "This confusion may have arisen from the fact that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will hold its annual meeting that month and will as usual be receiving various reports, including possibly one on Guantanamo."