OSCE meeting to discuss Caucasus situation
Conflict resolution in order to avert events like the recent war between Russia and Georgia is a key issue for the 56- nation Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said Thursday.
Stubb, who holds the rotating chairmanship, welcomed some 50 foreign ministers along with Finnish President Taarja Halonen as the 16th ministerial conference got under way, reported dpa.
Stubb said the chairmanship year included "some bad news," specifically mentioning the "ferocious conflict and war in Georgia."
The recent Geneva talks between the parties were welcomed by Stubb, who also looked forward to a discussion on proposals for a new European security structure floated by Russia and France, among others.
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.
Among the foreign ministers present in the Finnish capital were Russia's Sergei Lavrov, Bernard Kouchner of France, Britain's David Miliband, and Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Absent was US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has travelled to India and Pakistan in an attempt to defuse tensions between the two neighbours after the recent attacks in Mumbai.
The OSCE's activities include election monitoring. 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.
Stubb and other speakers also noted the organization's efforts to tackle human trafficking and drugs. dpa lsm jbl ms