Earthtimes, UK
Jan 1 2008

Finland assumes OSCE chair

Posted : Tue, 01 Jan 2008 13:39:01 GMT
Author : DPA

Helsinki - Finland on Tuesday assumed the chair of the 56- nation
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Finnish
Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva said as chair, Finland "will focus,
above all, on intensifying the organization's operation and on the
observance of existing commitments."

Finland succeeds Spain as chair.

Issues in 2008 were likely to include the issue of Kosovo, so- called
frozen conflicts involving Nagorno-Karabakh and breakaway regions in
Transnistria in Moldova and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces
in Europe, Kanerva said in a statement issued in Helsinki.

The OSCE is also engaged in election monitoring.

More details of the Finnish programme were due in a January 10 speech
by Kanerva to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna where the OSCE has
its headquarters.

In 2009, Greece will take over from Finland as OSCE chair.

The OSCE evolved out of the Conference for Security and Cooperation
in Europe (CSCE), a major forum of dialogue during the Cold War.

Finland hosted the 1975 summit where the CSCE signed the Helsinki
Final Act, a key document on issues ranging from human rights and
security to the environment.