Greece Prepares for Assumption of OSCE Presidency in '09

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met on Wednesday with Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, in the framework of preparations for Greece's assumption of the organisation's presidency next January.

The assumption by Greece of the OSCE presidency in the present international situation is a "challenge" for the foreign ministry, which "we are determined to meet," Bakoyannis told reporters after the meeting.

The Greek foreign minister added that she looked forward to cooperating with all 56 OSCE member-states and the organisation's secretariat, and it was in this spirit she held talks with her European Union (EU) counterparts, while on Wednesday she had a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Contacts with the Russian foreign minister are of particular importance in view of the upcoming EU-Russia summit on Nov. 14 in Nice, France, and given the fact that Russia is involved in the Georgia crisis, which will be at the top of the agenda of the Greek OSCE presidency. de Brichambaut referred, on his part, to the open issues OSCE is facing, such as Georgia, SE Europe, the situation in Afghanistan and European security.

The assumption of the one-year OSCE presidency implies "a great political responsibility", de Brichambaut said, promising the greatest of support in organisational issues.

"We believe in the OSCE's role and mission, which in any case forms the solid base that will guide the presidency's actions," the Greek foreign minister said.

Bakoyannis will be the main speaker at an 'Ambassadors Forum' event organised by the ministry on Thursday, focusing on the issue of "Priorities and Challenges of the OSCE Greek Presidency".

Earlier in the day the head of the press department at the OSCE, Martin Nesirki, briefing reporters, said that the priorities are decided exclusively by the organisation's presidency.

Bakoyannis later briefed Greek deputies who are participating in the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE.

(Posting date 30 June 2009)

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