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Tánaiste opens 19th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-coperation in Europe

Security, Press Releases, Europe, 2012

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., will today open the 19th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe at the RDS Simmonscourt Arena in Dublin.  The Tánaiste is Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, a position he assumed in January this year.  The meeting is the largest gathering of Foreign Ministers ever to take place in Ireland and is the culmination of Ireland’s year-long Chairmanship of the Organization.
Delegations representing over 70 countries and international organisations will be attending the two day event, which will bring together Foreign Ministers from over 50 States, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.   Ministers will be working on a series of proposals aimed at strengthening the security and rights of the citizens of the OSCE, the world’s largest regional security organisation.  
Welcoming the Ministers, senior officials, and the other 1,300 participants to Ireland, the Tánaiste said: 

“Over the past year the Irish Chairmanship has been able to make good progress on key issues.  We also held a series of very successful conferences in Ireland, the most important of which brought together all of the key participants from the Good Friday Agreement to  demonstrate to those seeking solutions to other conflicts in the OSCE region that seemingly intractable situations can be resolved to the benefit of all communities.  We also brought that experience to bear in the negotiations which we hosted in Ireland between Moldovan and Transdneistrian delegations to resolve that longstanding conflict.”  

“The Conference on Internet Freedom which we organised in June, and which showcased Ireland’s growing importance as a hub for global internet firms, addressed the challenges to freedom of expression and media freedom online and allowed for a debate around internet governance which is a growing issue of concern in the OSCE member states.”
“It has been a great honour for Ireland to have been invited to lead this Organization at such an important time in international relations both politically and economically.  It is a demonstration of the confidence and respect accorded to Ireland internationally, and which was evident again in our election to the UN Human Rights Council in November.”
“Our Chairmanship of the OSCE has helped to open doors and to create opportunities at a time of great challenge for Ireland and has provided a solid foundation for the start of our EU Presidency in January.”  
“At this meeting Ireland as Chair will work to advance the shared aims of our Organization; a community of shared values.  I am hopeful that all of us will work together constructively to adopt a balanced set of decisions, including on human rights issues such as media and Internet freedom and combating racism and xenophobia, as well as on good governance and military co-operation.”  

Referring to the recommendations by civil society representatives who met at a parallel event in Dublin Castle yesterday, the Tánaiste said: 

“OSCE States have formally recognised the need to protect defenders of human rights, but this is not always so in practice and it is something that urgently requires further attention in the months and years ahead.”