OSCE-Mongolia Conference co-operation with Asian Partners
Strengthening synergies between the 56 participating States of the OSCE and its Asian Partners for Co-operation in addressing transnational threats, such as illicit drug trafficking. Advancing international economic co-operation, in particular on transport and energy security; as well as promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms in the whole OSCE area, are key topics of the OSCE-Mongolia Conference that started in Ulaanbaatar today.The two-day meeting organized jointly by the OSCE and the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, looks at how six Asian Partners for Co-operation – Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, and Thailand – can further benefit from the engagement with the OSCE.
Addressing the Conference participants, Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Gombojav Zandanshatar said: “The OSCE security activities across all three dimensions – the politico-military, the economic and environmental and the human – could serve as examples for security co-operation in Northeast Asia. OSCE’s unique features, including its co-operative and comprehensive approach to security, conflict prevention instruments, well-established confidence and security-building measures, large operational network of field missions, are valuable assets to be drawn on in terms of practical application in Northeast Asia”.
He stressed the importance of enhancing transit co-operation – one of the topics on the Conference’s agenda, and called on OSCE participating States and Partners to increase financial and technical assistance to landlocked developing countries to “help them overcome the impediments of geography by improving their transit transport systems”.
Evaldas Ignatavicius, Deputy Foreign Minister of Lithuania which chairs the OSCE in 2011 said: “The Conference is an example of true partnership between the OSCE and Asian Partners in terms of sharing the know-how of OSCE commitments.”
Speaking about priorities of the OSCE Chairmanship in the co-operation with the Partners, Ignatavicius stressed Lithuania’s commitment to “strengthening the OSCE engagement with Afghanistan through concrete projects, in close co-operation and co-ordination with other international actors, as an effective way of contributing to the international efforts to bring greater stability and security to Afghanistan”. Ignatavicius said that this approach has been reiterated by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office during his visit to the Kunduz Province of Afghanistan last week, where he encouraged his Afghan counterparts to embrace co-operation with the OSCE through “small but meaningful steps”.
In this context Ignatavicius emphasized the importance of a training course for mid-level Afghan diplomats that Mongolia proposed to host this September, as well as a discussion on capacity building of the diplomatic service of Afghanistan, which will be held today to lay ground for the course. The discussion will be held with the financial support from Kazakhstan.
Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov of Kazakhstan, who chairs the Asian Contact Group, said: “Kazakhstan is determined to concretely work towards a closer and more effective co-operation with our Partners”.
”The Declaration adopted at the Astana Summit in 2010 stressed the Eurasian dimension of our security community”, Abdrakhmanov said, adding that in Astana the participating States pledged to enhance the level of interaction with the Partners for Co-operation. He emphasized the practical value of the ongoing project funded through the Partnership Fund on the placement of young diplomats from the Partner countries in the OSCE executive structures.
Paul Fritch, Director of the OSCE Secretary General’s Office, stressed the importance of the OSCE Partnership for exchanging best practices and lessons learned, and mentioned in this regard a planned activity in Thailand with Afghan participation on fighting the roots of drug trafficking by stopping drugs cultivation and fostering socio-economic development.
Speaking about economic and environmental aspects of security, he underlined that the OSCE is a “unique platform for political dialogue and facilitation of regional co-operation, matched with first-hand local knowledge,” which can contribute to co-operation on transport, border crossing facilitation, and trade promotion across the Eurasian region. Fritch also said that the Conference will explore ways to promote co-operation, including with OSCE Partners, “to identify mutually beneficial solutions for managing interdependency and strengthening energy security”.
Exchange of experience and best practices in the promotion of democratic governance, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law is another important component of the event, which will “surely consolidate and expand our common security”, he added.
Annual conferences with Asian Partners for Co-operation, hosted by a Partner country on a rotation basis, are the key forum for the OSCE’s co-operation with its Asian Partners providing an opportunity to exchange views on security in the OSCE region and in Asia. Similar annual conferences are also conducted with Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation.