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Ukraine Stresses Importance of Shared Values and Vows to Revive European Arms Control Efforts as Chair of OSCE

DUBLIN, December 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Ukraine is looking towards a successful chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), given its geo-strategic position and understanding of key issues concerning the West and East, ranging from regional stability and energy security to terrorist threats and drug trafficking.

"As a country, which was part of the Soviet Union and is now embracing European integration, we are uniquely positioned to act as a bridge between the West and the East," said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko at the 19th OSCE Ministerial Council.

Ukraine takes over the rotating chair of the OSCE in January from Ireland, with the objective to strengthen the organization.  

In particular, it intends to begin arms control efforts free from "post-cold war approaches."

"I would like to reiterate the Ukrainian proposal to initiate a new dialogue within the OSCE aimed at elaborating fundamental principles of a future European conventional arms control," Gryshchenko said, adding, "it should be free from still existing post-cold war approaches to the arms control."

Ukraine will further use its experience gained from negotiating the Transdniestrian conflict in neighbouring Moldova to facilitate the settlement of protracted conflicts in the OSCE area and bring a cooperative approach to the OSCE.

Ukraine was party to a breakthrough just last month on the resumption of rail services in the disputed territory.

"Ukraine welcomes the progress achieved by Chisinau and Tiraspol in resolving pressing issues of cooperation in economic and humanitarian spheres," Gryshchenko said in Dublin. "We hope that the positive dynamics of the negotiations will sustain momentum."

Gryshchenko further noted that particular importance has to be paid to the key issue of energy and the challenges it poses to security. On this count too, Ukraine brings valuable experience as it lies between the gas markets of Europe and the increasingly dominant supplier, Russia.

Kyiv sees its future in the European Union, having this year initialed an Association Agreement, the first step towards EU membership. But it also has an active dialogue with Russia, which is increasingly flexing its muscles with its former Soviet neighbours.

Gryshchenko further vowed to build upon the OSCE's advancements in human rights and democracy. "We have identified the fight against human trafficking, media freedom, freedom of movement, youth education on the principles of tolerance and non-discrimination and gender equality as key areas on which the incoming Chairmanship will focus next year," he said.

From its Euro-focused beginnings, the OSCE has expanded to include 57 participating states from the Northern hemisphere and partners for cooperation from around the world. The Chairmanship is given to a country by consensus decision. Nations hold the revolving chair for a year, with Gryshchenko taking over from Ireland's Eamon Gilmore.


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