Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland

Switzerland takes over helm of security group

Share this article

Switzerland takes over helm of security group
Didier Burkhalter is Swiss president for 2014. Photo: UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
08:51 CET+01:00
Switzerland on Wednesday assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, naming the Western Balkans and South Caucasus as its priorities.

Switzerland vowed during its year at the helm of the 57-member body to make a "tangible contribution to fostering security and stability, improving people's lives and strengthening the OSCE's capacity to act".

Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, who is foreign minister and this year’s Swiss president, said he had appointed special representatives for each of its two priority regions.

"In the Western Balkans, we wish to make reconciliation and regional co-operation a topic of discussion," he said in a statement.

"In addition, the OSCE should play a supporting role in the implementation of (last year's) Belgrade-Pristina agreement" designed to reduce frictions between Serbia and its former province Kosovo.

"As for the South Caucasus, we will work with existing formats to support the search for a resolution to the protracted conflicts," he said, referring to a region disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"Progress can only be made step by step, and for this reason we value bringing continuity to the Organization," he added.

Switzerland, which took over the chairmanship from Ukraine, would also "concentrate on combating torture, respecting human rights, including minority rights, promoting democratic elections, and strengthening the rule of law in combating terrorism.

"Work to combat transnational threats generally and natural disaster preparedness and response are also high on the agenda," said Burkhalter.

The minister will present Switzerland's priorities to the OSCE Permanent Council at the organisation's headquarters in Vienna on January 16.

Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.
Become a Member or sign-in to leave a comment.

From our sponsors

‘No other place in Europe has such as high density of talent'

London has always had a certain allure that pulls in entrepreneurs from near and far. As one of the world's most connected cities, a top financial centre and a multicultural melting pot, countless professionals from Europe and beyond are drawn to London like moths to a flame.