Gilmore hails Irish 'road map'

Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 00:00

CHAIRMANSHIP: Ireland yesterday secured agreement from the 57 member states of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe on a strategic road map it had drafted for the future of the body.

Irish diplomats sought approval for the proposal, known as the Helsinki +40, in the hope it would be the crowning glory of Ireland’s 2012 chairmanship of the OSCE. Agreement was reached in a series of negotiations around the annual OSCE ministerial in Dublin.

The initiative envisages a working group comprising the three forthcoming chairs – Ukraine, Switzerland and Serbia – which would examine a number of areas where the OSCE needs to change the way it operates ahead of its 40th anniversary in 2015. These include conflict resolution and strengthening OSCE institutions and its capacity to deal with transnational threats.

Revitalise and renew

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said Helsinki +40 would help “reinforce, revitalise and renew” the OSCE.

The organisation, which emerged during the cold war, has struggled to maintain its relevance in a changed world. OSCE secretary general Lamberto Zannier praised the move as an “excellent decision” to give the OSCE a new direction.

Earlier, Mr Gilmore had opened the two-day conference telling delegates that Ireland had made “good progress” on key issues during its chairmanship.

“We also held a series of very successful conferences in Ireland, the most important of which brought together all of the key participants from the Good Friday agreement to demonstrate to those seeking solutions to other conflicts in the OSCE region that seemingly intractable situations can be resolved to the benefit of all communities,” he said.

“We also brought that experience to bear in the negotiations which we hosted in Ireland between Moldovan and Transdneistrian delegations to resolve that longstanding conflict.”