Italian 2018 OSCE Chairmanship: Dialogue, Ownership, Responsibility

“Strengthening multilateralism as an instrument to relaunch the “spirit of Helsinki” and to further promote peace, security, stability and co-operation is Italy’s key priority for its 2018 OSCE Chairmanship,” said today the Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano as he took up the post of Chairperson-in-Office of the regional security organization.

Under the motto “Dialogue, Ownership, Responsibility” the Italian OSCE Chairmanship’s approach will be open, transparent and inclusive. “Shared challenges require common solutions. We will seek to revive the ‘spirit of Helsinki’, not by turning to the past, but by demonstrating anew the determination that secured dialogue even in the toughest years of the Cold War. The Italian Chairmanship will seek to lead all OSCE efforts to overcome divisions within and between participating States,” Alfano said.

The Chairperson-in-Office encouraged the OSCE’s participating States to show political will in addressing common security challenges: “The OSCE is an organization that has always achieved concrete results when all its participating States have collaborated constructively and with a genuine spirit of shared responsibility.”

“The crisis in and around Ukraine has called into question the very principles on which the OSCE is based. Italy will continue to support all OSCE efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict and urges the sides to fully implement the Minsk agreements,” said Alfano.

Italy, he said, would also continue strengthening the OSCE’s work to address other protracted conflicts through the existing formats: the Geneva International Discussions on dealing with the consequences of the 2008 conflict in Georgia; the 5+2 Transdniestrian settlement talks; and the work of the Minsk Group and the efforts of its three Co-Chairs in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

We intend to foster a comprehensive security approach that should address also transnational threats, while protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and investing in education and culture, as well as in the empowerment of women and youth,” said the new Chairperson-in-Office. Bridging the inequality gap through responsible leadership will be the main priority in the economic and environmental dimension of security.

The Italian Chairmanship aims at promoting a stronger focus within the OSCE on challenges and opportunities coming from the Mediterranean region, said Alfano. “The Mediterranean dimension is complementary, and not an alternative, to the OSCE’s Euro-Asian dimension” he stressed pointing in particular to the migration crisis. “We intend to address this challenge not only from a security point of view but also through the fight against intolerance and discrimination, promoting pluralism, inclusion and inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue, which are the foundations of peace and security,” he said.

“We are convinced that, focusing on the implementation of OSCE principles and commitments, the respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all individuals is a key precondition for long-lasting peace, security and sustainable development. In this regard the role of OSCE’s autonomous institutions are an extremely important added value” the Chairperson-in-Office pointed out.

Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Angelino Alfano will present Italy’s priorities to the OSCE Permanent Council on 11 January in Vienna.