Press Releases

    SG/SM/8543
    9 December 2002

    REGIONAL SECURITY ORGANIZATIONS NEVER MORE IMPORTANT
    THAN TODAY, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL TO EUROPEAN
    SECURITY ORGANIZATION MEETING

    NEW YORK, 6 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council, delivered by Sergei A. Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, in Porto, 6 December:

    I am pleased to convey my greetings to the ministers and delegates gathered at this important meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council. It was a special pleasure for me to attend the Summit in Istanbul, in November 1999, at which the OSCE adopted its Charter for European Security. That Charter reaffirmed the OSCE as a primary organization for the peaceful settlement of disputes within its region and as a key instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. Multilateral institutions and regional security organizations have never been more important than today. Under the chairmanship of Portugal, the OSCE has placed a strong emphasis on counter-terrorism and joint work with other organizations. This has been a welcome focus. We all need to pool our efforts to ensure an effective response to the global scourge of terrorism, and the many other threats confronting us today.

    OSCE member States reacted swiftly after the calamity of 11 September 2001. Your adoption of an Action Plan on Terrorism at its ministerial meeting in Bucharest in December 2001, committing participating States to reinforce and develop their own bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and with the United Nations and other organizations, in order to combat terrorism and to contribute to the implementation of Security Council resolution 1373. The OSCE’s activities in the field of peace and security are a natural complement to the United Nations’ goals, particularly as they relate to conflict prevention in cooperation with regional partners. The OSCE’s work through the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) plays an important role in this arena within the OSCE area, often in close coordination with the United Nations. In the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the OSCE has found a valuable mechanism for the identification of situations of ethnic tension, allowing them to be managed without recourse to violent conflict.

    The United Nations and the OSCE have much to contribute to each other’s work, and have made significant progress in areas of common concern. Georgia is one example. The resolution of the conflict in and around the Nagorny-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan is another. Yet, more instances of cooperation include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. And OSCE is, of course, one of the pillars of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, with responsibilities for institution and building democracy.

    This month, important decisions are to be taken in European institutions, which will help us confront some of the most difficult challenges of the new century: how to prevent and counter terrorism; how to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction; and how to prevent and manage regional crises and the human rights abuses and turbulence they create. Together, the United Nations and the OSCE can do a great deal to meet these urgent challenges.

    I wish you all success in your deliberations.

    * *** *