Ireland takes over chair of OSCE


IRELAND YESTERDAY assumed the 2012 chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), pledging to address protracted conflicts, promote internet freedom and further strengthen co-operation between its 56 member states.

This is the first time Ireland has chaired the organisation, an intergovernmental regional security organisation comprising 56 states, including all EU countries, Russia, the US and Canada.

The OSCE deals with a wide range of security issues, including arms control, preventive diplomacy, confidence and security-building measures, human rights, election monitoring, and economic and environmental security.

“The world is facing unprecedented security challenges, and the multilateral co-operation made possible by the OSCE is needed now more than ever, said Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore, who is now the organisation’s chairperson-in-office.

“Ireland is committed to upholding core OSCE values and promoting peace, security and respect for human rights and rule of law in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian region.”

Mr Gilmore pledged to build on the results achieved by Lithuania’s chairmanship last year, particularly in the area of conflict prevention.

“We will draw on our own experience of conflict resolution in the context of the Northern Ireland peace process to advance these processes and facilitate engagement by all parties.”

The Tánaiste said freedom of expression and freedom of the media in the digital age would also be key priorities of Ireland’s chairmanship.

“The potential of the internet to inform and empower people is clearer than ever. It is unfortunately also clear that the threat to freedom of expression online is growing,” he said.

“As an internet capital of Europe, Ireland is strongly committed to safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms in the digital age, and our OSCE chairmanship will draw attention to this important issue.”

Mr Gilmore will present Ireland’s plans and priorities for its chairmanship to the organisation’s permanent council at a meeting in Vienna on January 12th.