Slovenia holds talks with OSCE representatives in preparation for upcoming presidency

23-07-2004

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, founded 55 years ago, is the largest regional security organization in the world with 55 participating States. It is active in early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. The organization played an important role in soothing tensions during the period of the Cold War. The security situation in Europe and worldwide still needs continual vigilance. Slovenia is aware of this fact and will pursue this knowledge to the best of her ability when she takes over the presidency of the OSCE next year.

Secretary General of the OSCE Jan Kubiš and Slovenia's Foreign Minister Ivo Vajgl met this week in Slovenia and agreed that by presiding the organization next year, Slovenia will take over a very important and responsible role in the international field, similar to the situation a few years ago, when Slovenia presided the UN Security Council. The OSCE is currently undergoing numerous reforms and important decisions for the future. Ivo Vajgl:

"We discussed how to draft work to assure the future interest of all members of the organization. As you know nine presidents of independent states, including Russia, have written letters to the organization and complained that it was not operating as expected."

According to Ivo Vajgl all participants should feel affiliation to the organization and they should not consider themselves as being exposed, when things are wrong and they have to justify themselves. Slovenia is going to execute its role as presiding country in accordance with EU priorities:

"However, this is not an organization of the European Union, although 25 EU member states represent the nucleus of this organization and they contribute 70 % of the budget. This organization has to stay a representative of all big and small countries. This is a delicate task but at the same time also a grateful one, of course if projects succeed."

General Secretary Jan Kubiš says the announced reforms are not a sign of crisis. An organization as big as the organization for security and cooperation in Europe has to constantly adjust to current conditions and it is the presiding state that plays a crucial role:

"There is a growing understanding in the organization that we could improve the way we work, the way the work is also politically managed and there are good chances. What I can also confirm is that there is not only a willingness to look into this but also a willingness that the organization will come out of this reinforced and that the countries will reconfirm their commitment to OSCE principles and values and I was very glad to hear support expressed by Foreign Minister Vajgl for this orientation."

The main task remains to assure peace and stability, to strengthen democracy and human rights. Of course, we cannot expect spectacular or quick changes. The OSCE approach to security is co-operative in the sense that all participating states have equal status, and decisions are based on consensus. And this might be a problem - to find consensus between 55 different states.

23-07-2004

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