Georgia-Russia likely topic at OSCE meeting
Scores of foreign ministers from the 56-nation Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are due to gather at the end of the week in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, with the recent war between Russia and Georgia likely to be one the main issues for discussion.
The preliminary line-up of some 40 foreign ministers expected to attend the two-day ministerial council that opens Thursday includes Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a Finnish Foreign Ministry official told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Later this month, Russia and Georgia - who fought over the latter's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia - are due to meet for a new round of talks in Geneva.
The OSCE evolved from the Helsinki process that in 1975, during the Cold War, saw the signing of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Finnish officials say Thursday's meeting is likely to be the biggest to date in Finland. The Nordic country, which has signed on to the Schengen zone of passport-free travel in Europe, has temporarily reintroduced border checks.
Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, who holds the OSCE rotating chairmanship, has said he also hopes the meeting will adopt a political declaration.
"That would be the first in six years," the Finnish Foreign Ministry official told dpa.
OSCE decisions hinge on unanimity, and previous meetings have failed to bridge differences to agree on a document.
The document being discussed aims at looking at the future role and activities of the organization, the official said.
Proposals about the future security infrastructure may also feature during the Helsinki meeting. The OSCE has members on both sides of the Atlantic and in Central Asia.
The OSCE's activities include election monitoring, and it has also been engaged in efforts to solve so-called frozen conflicts involving the breakaway regions of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan and Transnistria in Moldova.
During its chairmanship, Finland has also pushed for restrictions of small arms in conflicts. An online computer game was recently launched as part of efforts to highlight this. Details on the web site www.removearms.com.
Finland is to hand over the rotating OSCE chairmanship to Greece that will be succeeded by Kazakstan and then Lithuania.