Swiss president: Ukraine showed potential of OSCE

Burkhalter believes the crisis in Ukraine can still improve Keystone
This content was published on June 28, 2014 - 15:57 and agenices

Swiss President Didier Burkhalter has opened the annual parliamentary meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) saying its role in Ukraine has given renewed impetus to reforms of the body.

Reform of the OSCE, the world’s largest security-orientated organisation, is on the agenda of the five day gathering in Azerbaijan of around 300 parliamentarians from 57 participating states

Burkhalter, who chairs the organisation this year, told the meeting the crisis showed the OSCE’s “ability to build bridges, both between countries and on the ground”. He noted that the OSCE needed to reinforce its capacity for action.

In his opening speech, Burkhalter reiterated the OSCE was available to help with peace negotiations in Ukraine and spoke of his belief that the crisis could still de-escalate. 

He also paid tribute to the teams of observers in Ukraine. “We need more Lukas, Lars, Töris and Memets to establish peace,” he said, referring to four observers who were released from captivity in Luhansk on Thursday night. 

A special debate will be held on Ukraine on Tuesday.

Reform of the OSCE centres on the so-called “Helsinki+40” process, looking at its capacity to act from 2015 onwards, 40 years after the signing of the Helsinki accord on which the OSCE organisation was founded.  

Reform is one of the priorities of the Swiss presidency

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