Wien, 6. December 2013 Press release

Spindelegger: "Modernise OSCE as a community of values"

Vienna, 6 December 2013 – The fact that the Ministerial Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is being held at this very moment in Kiev underlines the relevance of the organisation as a community of values. Against this background it is even more regrettable that the objections of a few delegations prevented an agreement on a resolution on the protection of journalists that would have established a clear connection between freedom of opinion and freedom of the media. Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are among the essential OSCE commitments of all the participating states.

"The current situation in the Ukraine underlines the urgent and extraordinary importance of these rights and shows how vital it is that their implementation is demanded not least in the framework of the OSCE. The agreement on a resolution on freedom of thought, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion should bring about better protection of these rights throughout the entire OSCE sphere", Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said.

The OSCE also stresses the importance of a climate of tolerance and mutual understanding and the promotion of interreligious dialogue. This is a priority of Austrian foreign policy which is also taken account of in the framework of the OSCE.

A major process of reflection and modernisation is currently being pursued with a view to the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act that will be celebrated in 2015. In the course of this, the Organisation's structure and mode of operation are being screened and are to be adjusted to the current challenges. The participating states are also discussing the security architecture of the entire OSCE area, taking account of the increasing development of regional organisations and the role of the OSCE in Central Asia following the withdrawal of Central Asias states in 2014.

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