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Austria / Waldner: “We should use the OSCE to expand our partnership with North Africa” / State Secretary meets OSCE Secretary General Zannier

By Germany - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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VIENNA, Austria, November 23, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner today had a working meeting with Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), at the organisation headquarters in Vienna. The discussion revolved mainly around the objectives for the meeting of the 56 OSCE countries to be held in Vilnius (Lithuania) on December 6 and 7, 2011 where Waldner will head the Austrian delegation. “In line with Austria's membership in the UN Human Rights Council, Austria will also focus on issues such as democracy, rule of law and human rights in addition to security issues at this meeting”, the State Secretary said.

Austria also advocates the improvement and advancement of options for cooperation with the North African states. Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Algeria are already cooperation partners of OSCE. Referring to an initiative launched by Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger in September, the State Secretary said that “we are in favour of Libya becoming a partner state of the OSCE”. The young democracy in Libya would thus be able to use the programmes of the organisation in areas such as preparation of elections, police training, frontier defence and disarmament.

Another topic on the agenda was the political situation in the Western Balkans. The State Secretary reported on his political fact-finding talks in Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania and described the impressions he gained during his visits of these countries.

State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner ensured the OSCE Secretary General of continued Austrian support in the forthcoming reorganisation of the Secretariat. This has become necessary to increase the organisation's clout in fighting current global threats such as trafficking in drugs, weapons and people, and extremism. “Cooperation in the entire OSCE area, from Vancouver to Vladivostok, is essential. The OSCE is an integral part of the security hub that Vienna is with one of the four headquarters of the United Nations”, the State Secretary concluded.