Wien, 20. November 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "OSCE - a proven stabilizer and bridge-builder in Europe and its neighbourhood"

20.11.2007

Foreign Minister hands over new headquarters to the OSCE

Vienna, 20 November 2007 - "The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has always been a proven stabilizer and bridge-builder in Europe and its neighbourhood. The Final Act of Helsinki in 1975 was the catalytic force for abandoning the bloc mentality and overcoming the borders on the European continent. It served as an encourager and as an anchor for the people in the Eastern Bloc in their fight for democracy and freedom", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik in the run-up to tomorrow’s opening of the new OSCE headquarters that will be attended by Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Federal President Heinz Fischer.

"A variety of links have developed throughout the years between the OSCE and Vienna as its official seat. The new building of the OSCE is another visible expression of this bond. The new headquarters underscore our strong support for this leading regional security organization extending from Vancouver to Vladivostok", Plassnik continued.

In 2002, the Austrian Federal Government decided to provide the Palais Palffy-Erdödy to the OSCE for its new headquarters. Since its establishment in 1995, the OSCE Secretariat with its staff of 300 had its headquarters in Vienna. The Secretariat is responsible for coordinating the organization’s 17 field missions, involving over 3,000 members.

Plassnik: "Especially in the prevention and peaceful solution of conflicts, the OSCE’s contribution is invaluable. Yet its activities in the 56 participating States go beyond that, and include the fight against terrorism and human trafficking, and the promotion of the rule of law. The OSCE and the EU are bound by the common interest and commitment for political stability, democracy, and human rights in Europe. Despite their differences, both are communities of values based on a common set of rights and obligations."

The unique security concept of the OSCE encompasses the political, economic, and human rights dimension of security. With its wide network of field offices and specialized institutions, the OSCE promotes stability and democracy in the entire region. For more than ten years, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has established itself as a leading organization in the field of election monitoring worldwide.

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