Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec.27
By Sabina Ahmadova - Trend:
Switzerland, as a chairman of OSCE will look into possibilities to promote dialogue and confidence building measures between the parties of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by actively supporting and strengthening existing mediation schemes such as the OSCE Minsk process, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) of Switzerland and Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE for 2014 told Trend.
"Furthermore, Switzerland will try to facilitate people to people contacts and support civil society projects in the region," Burkhalter said.
Upon Switzerland's assumption of the OSCE chairmanship on January 1, 2014, Ambassador Angelo Gnadinger will take up the post of Special Representative for the South Caucasus, the councillor said.
Among other responsibilities, he will act as the OSCE co-chair of the Geneva Discussions on security and stability in the South Caucasus, Burkhalter said.
"Like previous Special Representatives for the South Caucasus, he will support the OSCE's mediation efforts and will accompany the activities of the OSCE representations in the region," the councillor said.
"Switzerland, during its chairmanship, wants to contribute to three main objectives: we want to foster security and stability, to improve people's lives and we want to strengthen the OSCEs capacity to act," Burkhalter said.
"Creating a Security Community for the Benefit of Everyone"- this is the leitmotif of Switzerland's chairmanship," the councillor said.
To concretely implement these goals, Switzerland has defined several priority activities such as combating transnational threats, enhancing the capacity in the OSCE area for the management of natural disasters, but also strengthening security sector governance, the implementation of the commitments in the Human Dimension, according to the councillor.
Switzerland will also pay special attention to the inclusion of civil society into the OSCE and wants to give young people a voice by organising an OSCE-Model series of events, according to Burkhalter.
"During our chairmanship, we want to place the implementation of existing commitments relating to the human dimension at the centre of our efforts. By promoting exchange of good practices, Switzerland wants to urge the participating States to fully implement and respect the commitments that they have undertaken over the past 40 years in such fields as combating torture, ensuring respect of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities or promoting democratic elections," Burkhalter said.
In the context of our Chairmanship, we will also organize a human rights conference in Switzerland in mid-June 2014, according to Burkhalter.
"Furthermore, we will support the OSCE institutions and field operations in the work they do under their mandates in human rights-related fields," the councillor said.
With regard to the increasing role of Azerbaijan in the sphere of energy security in the region, Burkhalter recalled that only a few weeks ago, the Ministerial Council of the OSCE adopted two decisions in relation to energy, one on improving the environmental footprint of energy-related activities, the other on the protection of critical energy networks from natural and man-made disasters.
"This shows that energy security becomes more and more a dynamic topic among the OSCE participating States and countries like Azerbaijan play, of course, a crucial role in this OSCE-wide dialogue. It is imperative to think of ways to promote affordable and diversified energy supply further. We also need to keep in mind that energy resources can contribute substantially to economic growth if managed responsibly and transparently," Burkhalter said.