"Serbia's experience can be valuable contribution"

During its chairmanship of the OSCE in 2015, Serbia's experience and position can be very important in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, says Sebastian Kurz.

Source: Tanjug
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The Austrian foreign minister told Tanjug that Serbia under Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic had been contributing to resolving old conflicts in the Balkans for a while.

"Serbia has been contributing to resolving old conflicts in the Western Balkans for a few years now. Serbia's being selected to hold the OSCE chairmanship should be viewed from the perspective of the constructive role the country has played under Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. I am confident that Serbia will demonstrate this constructive role while holding the OSCE chairmanship as well, "said Kurz.

The outgoing year was especially challenging for the OSCE primarily due to the grave crisis in Ukraine, and the organization proved its role as central forum for crisis management here. The crisis will certainly dominate over other issues during Serbia’s chairmanship as well, believes Kurz.

The Austrian foreign minister believes that Serbia’s historical experience and its regional position could prove very valuable in resolving conflicts.

Austria views Serbia’s focusing on issues such as the development of the Western Balkans in a particularly positive light, as Austria’s foreign policy objectives include that, he said, adding that Austria and Serbia had already been actively cooperating in the OSCE framework and Serbia could continue to count on the support of the government in Vienna.

"I wish Serbia a lot of success and I wish it to persevere in implementing its priorities and OSCE chairmanship programs," Kurz said.

Asked if Austria and Germany would arrange a consecutive chairmanship just like Switzerland and Serbia before them, and whether the Balkans would remain in the focus of attention during the Austrian OSCE chairmanship in 2017, Kurz said that the Balkans would certainly hold an important place in Vienna’s chairmanship.

Germany and Austria will work closely together for the sake of continuity and efficiency, as envisaged by the OSCE Troika, which comprises the former, current and future chairpersons, said the Austrian minister.

The Western Balkans, which has been in the focus of Austrian foreign and European policy for a good while now, will keep holding an important place in it during our chairmanship of the OSCE in 2017. Here we speak primarily about creating security and stability in, for us, a very important region, the Austrian foreign minister said.

On January 1, Serbia will be the first former Yugoslavia country to take over the OSCE chairmanship after the breakup of the country in 1991.

The OSCE chairmanship is held for one calendar year by an OSCE participating state and the function of the chairperson-in-office is exercised by the foreign minister of that state.

The first session of the OSCE Permanent Council, where the Serbian foreign minister will speak about the priorities of his work as OSCE chief, is scheduled for January 15, which will mark the formal beginning of Serbia’s chairmanship of the organization that brings together "a community stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok."

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