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Ireland to promote conflict resolution and digital media freedom during its chir of the OSCE in 2012

Ireland’s 2012 Chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (the OSCE) will seek to address protracted conflicts, promote Internet freedom and strengthen co-operation between the 56 OSCE participating States, said the new Chairperson-in-Office, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., today.   

“The world is facing unprecedented security challenges, and the multilateral co-operation made possible by the OSCE is needed now more than ever. Ireland is committed to upholding core OSCE values and promoting peace, security and respect for human rights and rule of law in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian region.”

The Tánaiste pledged to build on the results achieved by Lithuania’s 2011 OSCE Chairmanship and the decisions taken at the Vilnius Ministerial Council in December, notably in the area of conflict prevention.  

“I particularly wish to congratulate Lithuania on the successful resumption of official 5+2 talks in the Transdniestrian settlement process.  Ireland will seek to build on this momentum through supporting existing processes, including the Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the Geneva Discussions dealing with the August 2008 conflict in Georgia. We will draw on our own experience of conflict resolution in the context of the Northern Ireland peace process to advance these processes and facilitate engagement by all parties. “ 

The Tánaiste also welcomed decisions taken in Vilnius to strengthen the OSCE’s ability to deal with conflicts, address transnational threats and enhance engagement with OSCE Partners for Co-operation, including Afghanistan. 

Freedom of expression and freedom of the media in the digital age will also be key priorities of Ireland’s Chairmanship, he added. 

“The potential of the Internet to inform and empower people is clearer than ever. It is unfortunately also clear that the threat to freedom of expression online is growing.  As an Internet capital of Europe, Ireland is strongly committed to safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms in the digital age, and our OSCE Chairmanship will draw attention to this important issue.” 

The Tánaiste will present Ireland’s plans and priorities for its OSCE Chairmanship to the Permanent Council in Vienna on 12 January.   

Further information is available on the OSCE’s website at http://www.osce.org/cio/

Note for Editors:
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the primary instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation in Europe, Central Asia and North America. Comprising fifty-six participating States (including all the members of the EU, the US, Canada and Russia) and twelve partner countries, the OSCE’s approach to security is comprehensive and co-operative.  It deals with a wide range of security issues, including arms control, preventive diplomacy, confidence and security building measures, human rights, election monitoring and economic and environmental security. Ireland will have the Chair-in-Office of the Organization for the twelve months of 2012.