[Stop-traffic] News/OSCE: New head of OSCE announces new mission to Yugoslavia

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/OSCE: New head of OSCE announces new mission to Yugoslavia
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Jan 29 2001 - 09:54:07 EST


           New head of OSCE announces new mission to Yugoslavia

APws 11/Jan/01 3:56 PM

  The Associated Press.

By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS
  Associated Press Writer
    VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Yugoslavia's return to Europe's main security
organization is "a major breakthrough" that should be seized upon to
strengthen peace and stability in the Balkans, the new chairman of the
55-nation body said Thursday.
    In the first speech of his yearlong tenure as chairman of the
Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, Romanian Foreign
Minister Mircea Geoana announced the OSCE would open a new mission soon to
help Yugoslavia build on democratic changes.
    Geoana said OSCE also should step up efforts to stop abuses of
individuals throughout Europe.
    "We intend to focus attention on new problems and issues, such as
trafficking in human beings, children in armed conflict and the integration
of refugees," Geoana said.
    His speech to the governing OSCE council provided a checklist of
hotspots where OSCE is trying to ease tensions.
    --Priority should be given to returning an OSCE mission to Chechnya,
where it can play "an important role" in establishing a political solution
to the conflict.
    --The OSCE will increase efforts for a settlement in the Transnistrian
region of Moldova, with Portugal spearheading the mission.
    --Other campaigns for peace and democracy include Belarus, Georgia,
Nagorno-Karabakh and Central Asia.
    In the Balkans, he said, the OSCE will work with the United Nations to
establish a normal, postwar society in Kosovo and support efforts for
Bosnia to take responsibility for national institutions.
    "The return of Yugoslavia to the OSCE family is a major breakthrough for
democracy, providing a continuous space of security and stability in
Southeast Europe," Geaona said. "OSCE will assist by helping the country
rebuild society."
    He said the OSCE will open a permanent mission in Yugoslavia, a sign of
its full readmittance to the body, from which it was suspended in 1992 as
punishment for Slobodan Milosevic's fomenting of conflicts in the Balkans.
It was readmitted in November last year after Milosevic was ousted as
president.
    Geoana told reporters he would go to Belgrade on Monday for an initial
visit. OSCE spokesman Mans Nyberg said the new mission would probably be up
and running by the end of February.
    It will replace older OSCE regional missions to Sandjak and Vojvodina
and will work to strengthen respect for democracy and protection of human
rights and minorities, a statement said.
    Geoana, formerly Romania's ambassador to the United States, is seeking
to convey that "Romania is a European country with European aspirations
which shares the values of the continent," national radio reported in
Bucharest.
    There are concerns within the OSCE that the leftist administration of
President Ion Iliescu, may not be fully committed to ideals of democracy
and human rights. Iliescu and the leftist government came to power after
November elections.
    Political instability sometimes has troubled Romania since it threw off
communism in 1989. An ultranationalist party came second in November
elections.
    Geoana, who succeeded Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner
as OSCE chairman, met Austrian President Thomas Klestil earlier and
discussed economic trade. Austria is the seventh largest investor in
Romania.
    Showing the sensitivity that Romanian officials have about coverage of
the country, Geoana said Austrians had a "an erroneous image," of Romania
due to articles in the Austrian media. He called on journalists to be
objective when covering Romania, radio reported.
    (am-agh/gj)
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