Vilnius, 6 December 2011 Press release

Waldner: "Libya should be granted OSCE partner status"

Austria's State Secretary Waldner at OSCE Council of Ministers meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius, 6 December 2011 - "The OSCE is an important tool for the development of modern democracies", State Secretary Waldner said at the Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) currently being held in Lithuania. "We need to leverage the expertise of the organisation in response to the current challenges in the Mediterranean and Arab region."

In this context, State Secretary Waldner referred to the highly regarded initiative of Vice Chancellor Spindelegger to offer OSCE partnership status to the new Libya. "Partnerships of this kind make dialogue possible at equal terms", the State Secretary said. "I am particularly pleased that I had the opportunity to meet two representatives from Libyan NGOs who were able to attend this meeting in Vilnius thanks to Austria's support." The OSCE could offer its valuable experience gained in the democratic upheavals in Eastern, South-East and Central Europe to its partner countries in the Mediterranean and thus generate mutual benefit. Afghanistan could also profit from a closer partnership with the OSCE.

"Starting out from the progress made since the OSCE summit in Astana, we must also tackle the unsolved problems in the OSCE area", the State Secretary said. "The security organisation is still faced with unresolved conflicts that remain central challenges."

Other priorities on Austria's agenda include a strengthening of the role of the OSCE in the early phases of conflicts and even before the breakout of conflicts, as well as the protection of journalists.

Vilnius was a first important step towards developing the concept of a comprehensive security community, Waldner said and continued: "Austria is going to proactively support the development of an extensive and modern security community reaching from Vancouver to Vladivostok, and from Spitsbergen to Tripoli. It is our objective to assure our citizens the best possible protection against organised crime, terrorism and also in the area of Internet crimes", the State Secretary concluded.

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