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Tánaiste calls on OSCE countries to intensify their work to confront today’s challenges

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore T.D., this morning addressed a special meeting in Vienna of the Permanent Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Ireland’s plans for its Chairmanship of the Organisation next year.

The Tánaiste told the special meeting that, while the OSCE has contributed immeasurably to stability and democratic development in its region, the participating States must intensify their work to confront today's challenges.  He said that although participating States can be "justly proud" of the OSCE's achievements, they must "also remain sensitive to the enormous challenges that confront the OSCE".

 “In today’s rapidly changing world, the OSCE must show itself sufficiently flexible to be able to update and develop the Human Dimension acquis in response to what are the most pressing human rights concerns of our day,” he said, referring to the wide-ranging commitments OSCE participating States have undertaken in the field of human rights.

The Irish Chairmanship will be alive to any possibilities for re-affirming or enhancing OSCE commitments in other areas, including measures to tackle trafficking in human beings and measures to strengthen the right to freedom of assembly.

In December 2010, at an OSCE Summit held in Kazakhstan's capital, leaders of the 56 OSCE participating States adopted the Astana Commemorative Declaration, in which they recommitted themselves "to the vision of a free, democratic, common and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok, rooted in agreed principles, shared commitments and common goals".

The Tánaiste informed the Permanent Council that Ireland plans to build on Kazakhstan's 2010 and Lithuania's 2011 OSCE Chairmanships to develop an action plan for the mandate given by the leaders in Astana focusing on the Organization's core competences.   "Efforts to check emerging transnational threats, such as terrorism, organized crime, illicit trafficking and others, are faltering; there is still clearly much to do in terms of entrenching democratic freedoms across the OSCE region; and the region's protracted conflicts remain unresolved," he said.

"Unless we redouble our efforts to tackle these problems, the goal of a free, democratic, common and indivisible security community, reaffirmed in Astana last December, will remain an aspiration, rather than a reality."