Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is “losing its potential” and joined U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call to revamp the 56-member bloc.
“We need a more precise legal basis and universal rules for utilizing the organization’s resources,” Medvedev said at an OSCE summit in the Kazakh capital Astana today. “The organization can become a driving force to develop interaction” between regional groupings in eastern and western Europe.
Clinton called for the OSCE to adopt a “forward-looking framework for action that translates Helsinki principles into concrete steps to advance security in all its dimensions.”
The OSCE began during the détente of the early 1970s as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The CSCE in 1975 reached agreement on the Helsinki Final Act, which contained commitments on political, military, economic, environmental and human rights issues, according to the OSCE’s website. The organization was renamed in 1994.
Russia has criticized the OSCE as a tool to advance the agendas of western countries. Then President Vladimir Putin in February 2007 said the OSCE was being turned into “a vulgar instrument for promoting the foreign policy interests” of individual members and groups of countries at the expense of others.
The Astana summit is the OSCE’s first in 11 years. Clinton yesterday challenged Kazakhstan to allow greater freedoms and foster civil society groups.