15 February 2011 The world’s largest regional security organization, embracing 56 States stretching from the United States across Europe and Central Asia to the borders of China, today pledged increased cooperation with the United Nations, from stabilizing Afghanistan to fighting terrorism to boosting cyber security.
“We value highly the close cooperation that we enjoy with the UN in the maintenance of international peace and security,” said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis, this year’s chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Addressing the Security Council in one of its regular briefings from regional organizations, he cited Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s speech to the OSCE summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, in December extolling the “core principles and common values” of both bodies and calling for closer cooperation to advance peace, human rights and sustainable development.
“Lithuania’s chairmanship of the OSCE will try to work towards realization of these goals,” Mr. Ažubalis said, citing Kosovo as “a longstanding example of OSCE-UN cooperation” after the UN took over its administration in 1999 when Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops amid fighting between Serbs and majority ethnic Albanians.
“Recognizing the leading role of the UN in the fight against terrorism, the Lithuanian chairmanship is firmly committed to fruitful cooperation with UN bodies in promoting the universal legal framework against terrorism,” he declared, adding that the OSCE would also join in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and burgeoning organized crime.
He said he intended to hold an OSCE conference on strengthening the ability of States to counter emerging challenges like cyber security. “Active UN participation to this event would be most valuable and highly appreciated,” he added.
Mr. Ažubalis noted Lithuania’s own experience in the Baltic region in underscoring the value of regional and sub-regional cooperation. “In that spirit, the Lithuanian chairmanship will intensify its work in supporting UN-led international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan,” he said. “Our primary goal will be to counter the trans-national threats stemming from its territory.
“We will work through concrete projects, in close cooperation and coordination with the Afghan authorities, our own Central Asian participating States, the UN and other international actors and organizations active in the region.”
Laying out the chairmanship’s priorities, he listed tangible progress in addressing protracted conflicts; improved implementation of media freedom commitments; strengthening OSCE response to trans-national threats; enhancing its role in the area of energy security; and promoting tolerance education throughout the area.
Last week European Union (EU) Foreign Affairs and Security Policy High Representative Catherine Ashton addressed the Council, reaffirming the 27-member organization’s long-standing commitment to effective multilateralism with a strong UN at the core.
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