February 21, 2013 - 16:21 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 12th Winter Meeting opened in Vienna with a call for remembering the OSCE’s roots in tackling the challenges of the future.
“Whether we are debating changes to our security forces or the new technology affecting media freedom, the plight of refugees or the protection of borders, solutions for the future can be found in the road map signed in our past, the Helsinki Final Act that binds us all together here,” said OSCE PA President Riccardo Migliori in his opening remarks.
The President of the Austrian Parliament, Barbara Prammer, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, the Special Envoy of the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, Viacheslav Yatsiuk, also addressed the opening session.
Previewing the agenda for the next two days, Migliori implored the parliamentarians to continue working in the months ahead in preparation for the upcoming Annual Session in Istanbul. “The depth of your contributions today can lead to strong proposals and concrete action this summer,” he said.
More than 240 parliamentarians have gathered in Vienna for the Winter Meeting, which will feature a special debate Friday, Feb 22 afternoon on the situation in Syria, Mali, and North Africa. Other key items on the agenda include media freedom, border co-operation and security forces. A side event on Belarus on Friday will feature Andrei Sannikov, former opposition presidential candidate in Belarus.
Heads of OSCE Institutions, including the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, will address relevant committees. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, Michael C. Camuñez, will speak to the economic and environmental committee on good governance as an OSCE imperative.
The Winter Meeting is the primary venue for the Assembly’s Members and three General Committees to receive high-level briefings from OSCE officials and discuss draft reports for the upcoming Annual Session.