07.01.2008 13:55 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ On 1 January 2008, Finland took over the Chairmanship
of the OSCE today and described the Organization as a unique forum
of dialogue between 56 participating States whose strength lies in
the unanimity required for decision-making.

"Finland's Chairmanship will focus, above all, on intensifying
the Organization's operation and on the observance of existing
commitments," said Finnish Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva, the new
OSCE Chairman-in-Office. Minister Kanerva took over from Spanish
Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, whose country chaired the
OSCE in 2007.

Finland's Chairmanship will be characterized by many uncertainties,
according to Minister Kanerva. The question of Kosovo, the so-called
protracted or unresolved conflicts and the fate of the Treaty on
Conventional Armed Forces in Europe will be prominent during the year.

The new Chairman-in-Office will outline the Chairmanship's priorities
in a speech on 10 January in Vienna to the Permanent Council, the
OSCE's main regular decision-making body. Soon after, he will make
his first visit to OSCE field operations, to Ukraine and Moldova.

The OSCE has become known, particularly, for its election observation
activities, which are executed by the OSCE Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights headquartered in Warsaw.

The Chairman-in-Office noted there would be a presidential election
in Georgia on 5 January, to be followed by several presidential and
parliamentary elections in participating States ranging from the
Russian Federation to the United States.

The OSCE, during the Finnish Chairmanship, can also undertake
activities assisting participating States to improve the security and
management of their borders, he said. Finland was ready to contribute
to such efforts, for example, in Tajikistan.

"We could think of ways to involve neighboring countries in such
activities, including Afghanistan, one of our Asian Partners for
Co-operation," said Minister Kanerva.

The Chairman-in-Office said he wanted to extend his deepest
appreciation for the valuable work of OSCE personnel in different
missions and at the Vienna headquarters, the OSCE communication
unit reports.