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OSCE and Council of Europe leaders discussed joint efforts to fight terrorism and human trafficking, promote minority rights and support democratic transition processes in the Southern Mediterranean

(OSCE New York)  - The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis, and OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier met the Council of Europe's Chairperson of the Committee of Ministers, Ukraine's Minister for Foreign Affairs Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland in New York on September 21st.


The meeting is the 20th between the OSCE and the Council of Europe in the "2+2" format that brings together the two organizations' Chairs and Secretaries General. The participants strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Ankara and Siirt in Turkey, underlining that terrorism is an assault on the common values of the two Organizations. They called for increased co-operation between the OSCE and the Council of Europe in the fight against terrorism, while respecting human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.


The officials discussed the two organizations' four priority areas of co-operation - the fight against terrorism, combating trafficking in human beings, the protection the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, and tolerance and non-discrimination - as well as co-operation in the field on these and other issues.


Speaking about the importance of closer coordination aimed at avoiding duplication, while respecting the autonomy and the differences of membership and mandates of the two organizations, Ažubalis said, "it remains vital for the OSCE and the Council of Europe to use available resources efficiently, to avoid unnecessary overlap and promote synergies."


"The two organizations should make full use of their respective comparative advantages and specific accumulated expertise to promote shared principles and objectives: stability and security that are based on democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,"said Gryshchenko. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister expressed his intention to continue to promote concrete and pragmatic cooperation between the two organizations when Ukraine assumes the OSCE Chairmanship in 2013.


The participants also exchanged views on potential assistance to the democratic  transition processes under way in countries of North Africa. They expressed their support for these processes, and underlined the importance of close co-ordination between the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the UN and other international institutions in their efforts and activities to assist the transition to democracy.


In this regard, they agreed to explore ways in which the OSCE and the Council  
of Europe could complement and mutually reinforce each other's work.