Switzerland chairs OSCE, pledged to work closely with Serbia

VIENNA -- Switzerland on Wednesday took over the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The country's official said that during its 2014 chairmanship it will work closely with Serbia, which will chair the international organization in 2015.

Switzerland will closely align its priorities with Serbia in a two-year working plan framework to ensure continuity of OSCE actions and improve its effectiveness, it has been said.

The new OSCE chairperson-in-office, Switzerland's Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, said that progress can only be made step by step and for that reason the government in Bern values bringing continuity to the OSCE.

“I hope that the tools of the Swiss-Serbian consecutive chairmanship such as a joint work plan will become a model for future chairmanships,” he said.

Burkhalter said that the OSCE is the best safeguard against new divisions between East and West, adding that he expects Switzerland and Serbia to help build bridges between institutions to deal with issues addressed in the framework.

Highlighting the Swiss Chairmanship's motto - Creating a Security Community for the Benefit of Everyone - he stressed that the OSCE “is about common security delivered by all countries and for all countries ” and added that the OSCE is “uniquely placed to connect the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian area.”

Burkhalter said geographic priorities are the Western Balkans and South Caucasus, adding that he had appointed special representatives for each of the regions, namely, Ambassador Gerhard Stoudmann for the Western Balkans and Ambassador Angelo Gnaedinger for the South Caucasus.

Ambassador Radojko Bogojević will be the OSCE chairperson's special representative for the Transdniestrian Settlement Process during 2014.

A special representative of the chairperson-in-office will be appointed to support regional cooperation in the Western Balkans and normalization of relations between Belgrade and Priština.

Switzerland will endeavor to support the OSCE Mission in Kosovo in contributing, within its mandate, role, and expertise, to implement agreements reached between the parties.

In addition, Switzerland will also support the promotion of dialogue among all communities living in Kosovo, as this will play a key role in a successful implementation on the ground of current and future agreements between Belgrade and Priština.