Joint declaration eludes OSCE
The outgoing chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) described a two-day meeting as "successful" even though a joint political declaration eluded delegates, reported dpa.
"We didn't get a political decision," Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said, adding it was "a good attempt."
As outgoing chairman of the 56-nation grouping, Finland had hoped that ministers for the first time in six years would agree on a joint declaration.
Decisions in the OSCE hinge on unanimity, and previous meetings have failed to bridge differences to agree on such a document.
Stubb underlined the role of OSCE in conflict resolution, citing its part along with the European Union in brokering a ceasefire after the recent war between Russia and Georgia.
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who January 1 takes over the chairmanship, said "the aftermath of the crisis" was a priority for Greece and she planned to visit the region soon.
Multiple countries urged the OSCE to extend the monitoring mission to Georgia and its breakaway regions. The mission is set to expire at the end of December.
Georgian Foreign Minister Ekaterine Tkeshelashvili told reporters on the sidelines that she hoped for an extension but declined to predict the outcome of pending talks in Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Friday urged the OSCE to help avert a "humanitarian disaster" in South Ossetia, the breakway region it has recognized in Georgia.
Lavrov noted that Russia had for several years warned of arms shipments to Tbilisi.
Russia among others have floated ideas for a new security structure in Europe, which were discussed during a three-hour luncheon meeting on Thursday.
Several countries said the existing structures involving the EU, NATO and OSCE were sufficient. But they added there was need to refresh or strengthen those structures.
A possible meeting next year discussing the ideas was not ruled out by Bakoyannis, but a summit appeared premature, she said.
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.
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.
In his concluding remarks to the conference, Stubb welcomed "constructive and postive momentum" by the parties to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.