OSCE an appropriate forum for missile defense discussions, says Organization's Chairman

( OSCE ) - The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, said he agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Organization was an appropriate forum to discuss Washington's missile defence proposals.

Minister Moratinos also highlighted the enduring relevance of arms control agreements reached in the 1990s as major pillars of European confidence building and security.

In a speech in Moscow on 26 April, President Putin suggested the U.S. missile defence proposal could be discussed at the OSCE. The Russian President also said Moscow was freezing its commitments under a European arms control pact known as the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, or CFE Treaty.

The OSCE deals with all aspects of security, including military security. The OSCE's Forum for Security Co-operation meets every week to discuss arms control, military confidence-building measures and disarmament.

"I am determined to move forward with OSCE?s security activities but the CFE moratorium does not contribute to this goal," said the Chairman-in-Office.

He also noted the OSCE will hold its Annual Security Review Conference in Vienna in June.

"The Annual Security Review Conference would be another important venue for such discussions," Minister Moratinos said. "The OSCE has a strong track record in this area, and we could play a role. We offer an appropriate forum that brings together all 56 countries in Europe and North America as well as our regional partners."

As one of the most far-reaching disarmament and confidence-building measures agreed, the CFE Treaty is frequently referred to as "the cornerstone of European security".

In the same spirit, the Chairman-in-office underlined that "we must be able to find a common ground in the issue of missile defence which in no way is directed against Russia.

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