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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-12-05

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM on OSCE session

  • [01] FM on OSCE session

    Greece assumed in essence as of Friday, on completion of the ministerial session in Helsinki, the presidency of the OSCE for 2009, adherring to the principle of the "honourable mediator" and the strengthening of the OSCE's role.

    Despite the efforts of the Finnish presidency to "deliver" with a "joint political statement" that would provide a breath of fresh air for the Helsinki spirit to enable it to meet the new geopolitical challenges.

    The presiding official himself, Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb had given 50-60 percent chances for its adoption, something that has not taken place over a period of six years.

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who will be taking over from her Finnish counterpart, expressed her disappointment that the opportunity for a political proclamation was lost, but stressed that Helsinki issued a "strong positive message" and this is the beginning of a political dialogue for the future of Europe, that the Greek presidency will encourage.

    "A substantive political dialogue began here at noon yesterday (Thursday) and Greece has assumed the obligation to continue it until the necessary common ground is found. Europe needs new ideas, it needs a new strategy and we shall do all that we can to achieve at least a basic agreement," Bakoyannis said at a joint press conference between the "troika" and the representatives of Finland and Spain, at the end of the session.

    On the question of the lack of a unified text, Stubb refused, although asked persistently, to place responsibility on some side and stressed as being an important fact that "we all found ourselves around the same table after the crisis in Georgia."

    Bakoyannis also referred to this crisis, whose handling will preoccupy the Greek presidency exclusively, stressing that "it overturns fixed conceptions on security in the region of the OSCE, but this crisis may provide the opportunity for a wider discussion on the new European security architecture."

    Although she had stated that Athens intends to host a summit on the issue, provided it is decided by the member-states, Bakoyannis considered it premature to take such a development as a foregone conclusion, but said that the scene might become clear around spring, when Athens is scheduling the holding of a ministerial conference.

    The Greek minister will be making visits to the countries of the Caucasus and Russia previously.

    "The Greek presidency will aim with all its strength at meeting the high requirements of the mission that it is assuming," she added.

    The Greek presidency's programme and priorities will be presented officially to the 55 countries on January 15, in Vienna, where the OSCE's General Secretariat has its headquarters.

    In exercising the Greek presidency, the foreign minister stressed the intention of "working closely" with the Parliamentary Assembly, a "struggling political body," as she said, as well as with the Greek Parliament with which a liaison has already been appointed by the foreign ministry.

    "We believe that the Parliamernt of the Greeks will contribute substantively to the exercising of this presidency," Bakoyannis said in the presence of the members of the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly, P. Skandalakis and P. Efthymiou.

    Efthymiou offered assurances for this contribution and Skandalakis said that "we are standing by the foreign minister" and wished a successful presidency.

    The OSCE's next steps in Georgia and the Russian proposal for a new "treaty on European security" dominated the agenda of the "56" over the past two days and friction over these issues was not smoothed over to facilitate an acceptable formulation in a unified text.

    Indicative of the distance that was not bridged was the stance of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who criticised the current form of the OSCE, as well as the arm for preventing conflicts as being inadequate and reiterated the proposal made by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on the restructuring of European security.

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