2002groscecb2






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    Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
    GR-OSCE
    Rapporteur Group on relations between the Council of Europe and the OSCE

    GR-OSCE(2002)CB2 2 August 2002
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    Synopsis
    Meeting of 18 July 2002

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    The Rapporteur Group, chaired by Ambassador Paulo Castilho, Permanent Representative of Portugal, considered the questions below, on the basis of the Notes on the Agenda in document GR-OSCE(2002)2, following on from convocation GR-OSCE(2002)OJ2.

    1. Exchange of views with Ambassador Gérard Stoudmann, Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)

    The Chair pointed out that, following his appointment, by the OSCE Ministerial Council to head the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Ambassador Stoudmann had taken up his duties in April 1997. His term of office had been extended for a further three-year period in April 2000. He would nevertheless be leaving the post at the end of September 2002. During his term of office, Ambassador Stoudmann had maintained close relations with the Council of Europe. This was the second time that he had met the Rapporteur Group on relations between the Council of Europe and the OSCE (GR-OSCE); they had had their first exchange of views on 20 June 2000.

    Before giving the floor to Ambassador Stoudmann, the Chair drew the Group's attention to the overview prepared by the Secretariat for this exchange of views (GR-OSCE(2002)1), which pointed out the current arrangements for co-operation between the Council of Europe and the ODIHR, listed recent initiatives and referred to the subjects which the Ministers' Deputies might wish to examine with the Director of the ODIHR.

    In his introduction, Ambassador Stoudmann gave the Group his assessment of the state of co-operation between the ODIHR and the Council of Europe, emphasising the outstanding progress made over the past five years. Although their terms of reference had much in common, the two organisations had successfully gone beyond “negative overlap”, marked by the duplication of activities, and reached the stage of “positive overlap”, characterised by co-operation and even by joint efforts. To support this view, he cited a few convincing examples of co-operation, both the assistance given to member states of the Council of Europe and OSCE which faced difficult situations (Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation [Chechnya], “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, etc), and co-operation in fields such as the observation of elections and the protection of human rights in the context of international action against terrorism. He particularly highlighted the quality of the contacts established - and the work done - with the Secretary-General, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Venice Commission.

    Among the challenges which were to be taken up through this joint work, Ambassador Stoudmann mentioned the drafting of standards with a view to guaranteeing the pluralist, free and fair nature of electoral processes (these might be codified in a Council of Europe legal instrument, on the basis of internationally recognised practice and of the principles developed in this sphere by the ODIHR in the past few years), the observation of a number of very important elections in south-eastern Europe (in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, in Bosnia and in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, both in Serbia and Montenegro and - most probably - at federal level) - for which significant resources would have to be used -, international action against terrorism and the combating of organised crime, corruption and the trafficking of human beings. He stated that all these issues were among the main points on the agenda for the forthcoming OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (Warsaw, 9-19 September 2002).

    Looking back over recent years and forward to the future, Ambassador Stoudmann drew the attention of the international community and the countries concerned to the impressive progress achieved in the processes of democratic transition carried out in the eastern half of Europe following the upheavals of 1989-1991. In actual fact, where the quality of their legislative texts and their structures was concerned, the new democracies - which had managed to turn to advantage the expertise of the main international organisations and the best practices identified in the various European countries - had reached a level which was often higher than that of those countries where democracy had existed for decades, or even for centuries. The major problem remained the disparity between texts and reality on the ground, as well as the resulting lack of awareness among the public opinion of the advantages of democratisation. This was of vital importance to the future of Europe, for failure to put democratic principles into practice sufficiently to achieve progress in everyday life fuelled both nostalgia for the old days and populist aberrations. This risk to European stability and democratic development had to be taken very seriously, as had the challenge of finding successors to the generations of politicians who had taken the initiative for, and led, the changes in the countries of central and eastern Europe.

    There followed an in-depth exchange of views, during which the Group looked again at several questions already considered by the speaker, while introducing some other subjects to the discussion. The main points dealt with were:

    - the new format for OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meetings, with the Warsaw meeting in September being the first trial of the format;

    - co-operation between the Council of Europe and the ODIHR in Chechnya;

    - the respective contributions of the ODIHR and Council of Europe to the Stability Pact, and the prospects for co-ordination and greater complementarity in this framework;

    - the activities to be carried out and/or planned in the fields of the fight against trafficking in human beings, the combating of corruption and organised crime, the reform of judicial systems, the finding of the successors needed in the political world, the observation and follow-up of elections (including the training of skilled staff in the countries concerned themselves), international action against terrorism (including multicultural and inter-religious dialogue), sub-regional co-operation and the protection of national minorities;

    - co-operation between the OSCE and Council of Europe in Moldova (especially in the search for a constitutional solution to Moldova's political problems);

    - the human rights situation in Kosovo (and the question of the applicability of Council of Europe conventions in this region, especially in the context of the forthcoming accession of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the Council of Europe);

    - the proposal to codify, in a Council of Europe legal instrument, international standards relating to elections;

    - the situation in Belarus.

    In conclusion, the Chair warmly thanked Ambassador Stoudmann for the interest and the depth of this exchange of views. On behalf of the Group, he expressed appreciation for the quality of the relations with him over his five years in office and for the resulting positive dynamism in the co-operation between the Council of Europe and the ODIHR. At the same time, he wished him good luck for his new post in Geneva.

    2. Information about recent co-ordination meetings

    a. Meeting on international action against terrorism (Lisbon, 12 June 2002)

    The Chair drew the Group's attention to information note DGAP/PR/Inf(2002)06, containing the conclusions of the High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Combat of Terrorism organised by the Portuguese Chairmanship of the OSCE (Lisbon, 12 June 2002), as well as the addresses made by the following: Mr António Martins da Cruz, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Portugal and Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, Mr José Manuel Durão Barroso, Prime Minister of Portugal, Mr Walter Schwimmer, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Ambassador Ján Kubiš, Secretary General of the OSCE.

    Particular emphasis was laid on the operational conclusions, which could be implemented through co-ordinated activities between the Council of Europe and the OSCE (technical assistance for the ratification and implementation of United Nations conventions and resolutions relating to the fight against terrorism, plans relating to police training and reform, the strengthening of judicial structures and law-enforcement capacities, encouragement for the protection and promotion of human rights and democratic values). Reference was also made to the follow-up meeting to be held by the OSCE in Vienna on 6 September for regional and sub-regional organisations and initiatives (in which the Secretary General of the Council of Europe would be participating), and to the Portuguese Chairmanship's stated willingness to organise, if necessary, a more general follow-up meeting in Lisbon in 2003.

    b. “2+2/3+3” meeting of senior officials (Vienna, 12 July 2002)

    The Chair pointed out that the “2+2/3+3” meetings of senior officials were organised alternately by the Council of Europe and the OSCE. At the first “2+2” meeting of senior officials, held in Vienna in July 1998, it had been decided henceforth to hold one such meeting per year, at the end of the first half of the year. These “2+2” meetings usefully complemented the high-level “3+3” meetings, for they related to pragmatic action-oriented co-operation, which gave rise to practical measures. The agenda and list of participants for the Vienna meeting of 12 July, convened by the OSCE, were in information note DGAP/PR/Inf(2002)07.

    After emphasising the substantial nature of the discussions and the informal and friendly atmosphere prevailing at the meeting, the Chair said that the opportunity given for all to express their views would certainly have gained from being more targeted, and he suggested that the agenda for future meetings focus on the most important questions: the quality of the co-operation developed recently in fact made it possible to go beyond the stage of mutual exchange of information and to aim gradually to pave the way for common positions on the main topical subjects in Europe. The Director General of Political Affairs agreed with this view of matters, and gave the Group oral information about the content of the discussions held, according to the various agenda items.

    In this context, two subjects were given particular attention by the Group: co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE in relation to education in Bosnia and Herzegovina (in respect of which it was noted that the political influence and presence in the field of the OSCE would complement the expertise and knowledge of the specialised circles available to the Council of Europe) and the proposal to codify, in a Council of Europe legal instrument, the principles developed in particular within the ODIHR in order to guarantee the free and fair nature of elections (this proposal, already referred to in the context of the exchange of views with Ambassador Stoudmann, was the subject of great interest from several delegations).

    In conclusion, the Chair referred to the address made that very morning by the Secretary General to the Permanent Council of the OSCE, which provided a useful summary of current activities and of co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE in this context (see appendix).

    3. Information about forthcoming meetings

    a. OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (Warsaw, 9-19 September 2002)

    After pointing out that information about the new configuration of “human dimension” meetings appeared in note DGAP/PR/Inf(2002)08, together with the agenda for the September 2002 meeting, the Chair said that this matter had already been well covered in the exchange of views with Ambassador Stoudmann. He noted that the Group had nothing to add on the subject.

    b. Next high-level “2+2/3+3” meeting

    The Chair said that the high-level “2+2/3+3” meetings were attended by the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, the Secretaries General of both organisations and, since 2001, the Presidents of the Council of Europe and OSCE Parliamentary Assemblies. These meetings provided an opportunity to look at topical political issues of interest to both organisations, in order to devise coherent approaches and effective forms of co-operation, at the same time giving particular attention to crisis situations and to co-operation in this sphere. More generally, they are also an opportunity to take stock of the co-operation between the two organisations.

    On this basis, the Chair said that the next “2+2/3+3” meeting, to be convened and chaired by the Portuguese Chairmanship of the OSCE, would take place in Strasbourg at 9.30 am on 25 September 2002.

    4. Other business

    None.

    5. Date of the next meeting

    12 September 2002, at 3 pm.

    Appendix

    Statement by Mr Walter SCHWIMMER, Secretary General of the Council of Europe at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council
    Vienna, 18 July 2002

    Mr Chairman of the Permanent Council,
    Mr Secretary General,
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I am pleased to be with you again and to focus on a number of current issues which are of a common interest to both Organisations.

    With the accession last April of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's progress towards Council of Europe membership, the historic moment when the Organisation brings together all the democracies on our continent is drawing steadily nearer. I am confident that the principal outstanding questions with regard to Monaco's application, in particular its relations with France, will be solved in the near future. The Council of Europe has on many occasions clearly signalled to its last applicant state-Belarus that it should reinforce dialogue and co-operation with the European institutions, and in particular with the OSCE, but to no avail.

    The completion of the enlargement of the Council of Europe should consolidate its role as a pan-European organisation offering a unique platform for political dialogue and a wide spectrum of co-operation in the fields of human rights, the rule of law, democratic governance as well as culture, education and social cohesion, both at parliamentary and inter-governmental levels between all European States.

    This enlargement has, of course, to be seen in the context of the beginning of the enlargement of the European Union eastwards. These two processes are central to a clear definition of the future action and role of the CoE in the new political environment in the years ahead. I, therefore, submitted to the presently ongoing Convention on the future of Europe a contribution responding to key questions in the Laeken Declaration by involving the wider Europe built on solid foundations of freedom and equal partnership.

    This role of our Organisation as a community of values and action for 800 million Europeans is, without any doubt, also a subject for reflection at the highest political level. A possible 3rd CoE Summit of Heads of State and Government is at present under discussion, with a strong support from the side of our Parliamentary Assembly.

    The next session of the Committee of Ministers in November 2002, will consider the matter further.

    Coming now to the topics on the agenda of both our Organisations, the main contribution of the CoE to the fight against terrorism is to strengthen the legal basis of counter-terrorism measures, while fully respecting human rights and complying with the demands of democracy and the rule of law, as well as to help eradicate the roots of terrorism by fighting discrimination, intolerance and extremism and promoting intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. The Council of Europe welcomes an active engagement of the OSCE in this dialogue with its Central Asian members and its Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation. In this respect, specific reference should be made to the recent Interparliamentary Forum on Combating Terrorism in St. Petersburg, organised on the joint initiative of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States, in co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE and the European Parliament.

    I also highly appreciate the results of the High Level OSCE Conference on Preventing and Combating Terrorism held in Lisbon on 12 June 2002 where the major international organisations discussed our common approach to the fight against this phenomenon, as well as the global security challenges on the basis of common values and collective responsibility. I fully share the opinion of those who speak in favour of continuing the process of increasing the overall efficiency of our collective fight against terrorism, as an important part of the global security agenda. I am looking forward with interest to participating in the follow-up meeting on 6 September here in Vienna.

    In this respect we noted with interest the intention of the OSCE to adopt a Charter on the Prevention and Combat of Terrorism at the next OSCE Ministerial Council in Porto.

    The Council of Europe plays its part in this context, mainly through the Multidisciplinary Group on Terrorism. With OSCE and EU involvement, the Group is notably preparing a protocol to the 1977 European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism that, hopefully, will remove obstacles to more effective co-operation.

    To ensure a balanced approach in the fight against international terrorism the Committee of Ministers adopted at the beginning of this week Guidelines on human rights and the fight against terrorism. Based on international texts, including the UN Covenants, and on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, they call for reasonable and proportionate measures, striking a balance between the obligation to provide protection against terrorist acts and the obligation to safeguard human rights. They also specify the restraints which states should impose on themselves, in any circumstances, in their fight against terrorism. These exclude prohibition of arbitrariness, torture, discrimination, retroactive legislation as well as absolute respect for the right to life and the right to a fair trial.

    I shall be sending a personal copy of the Guidelines to all European Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of International Organisations. I trust this document will from now on be part and parcel of the work of legislators and courts in our member States.

    Besides action against terrorism the Committee of Ministers, at its May 2002 session in Vilnius, also focused on regional co-operation and its impact on stability and democratic reforms in Europe. The Ministers examined ways and means of strengthening co-operation between the Council of Europe and regional mechanisms with a view of taking greater advantage of their capabilities in enhancing the standards and values of the Council through co-ordination within their own structures. As a result of these discussions, the Vilnius Declaration on " Regional Co-operation and the Consolidation of Democratic Stability in the Greater Europe" was adopted. This document pays special attention to the promotion of interaction and co-ordination of activities of the Council of Europe at the pan-European level with a view to increasing the effectiveness of regional democratisation and good neighbourly relations. In order to take the Vilnius Declaration on Regional Co-operation forward, I am pleased to inform you that the Council of Europe is convening a meeting in Strasbourg on 24-25 October to bring together representatives of regional co-operation mechanisms and those of the Council of Europe and other European Institutions including the OSCE and the European Union.

    On 24 April 2002, ten years, almost to the day, after the beginning of the atrocious war which devastated the country, the accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Council of Europe has allowed us to turn one of the most painful pages in the very recent history of our continent. The Council of Europe has started to review the obligations and commitments of Bosnia and Herzegovina on a regular basis by means of the Organisation's monitoring procedures and implementation of a major post-accession co-operation programme. We have noted with satisfaction that co-operation between the Council of Europe and the authorities of this country is progressing very actively. Urgent reform of the judicial system, the fight against organised crime, corruption and terrorism, strengthening the rule of law, the return of displaced persons and refugees, will be top priorities. We are looking forward to implementing the post-accession programme in close co-operation with our partners of the International Community and the ODIHR and the OSCE in particular. With regard to the education sector the Council of Europe is looking forward to strengthening the high level of co-operation it already enjoys with the OSCE mission, particularly in the field, where the OSCE's expertise and extensive presence is greatly appreciated.

    The Council of Europe highly welcomes the encouraging developments in the recent history of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, namely the constitutional compromise reached between the leaders of Serbia, Montenegro and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the active support of international organisations on the establishment of a new federal entity. This compromise facilitates perspectives for this country for quick integration into the framework of European standards and values. The Council of Europe fully supports the efforts of the Yugoslav authorities. It will continue to pay close attention to the examination of the FRY's application for membership, while maintaining its efforts to develop co-operation and assistance programmes to promote the democratic reform process in the country.

    Progress in reforms outweighs the problems still existing, such as the implementation of the "Belgrade Agreement", co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague, or the slow return of displaced persons to Kosovo. Be short, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is continuing to advance steadily along the path to membership of the Council of Europe.

    With regard to Kosovo, the Council of Europe continues to assist UNMIK in the fields of human rights, legal reform, protection of children and education. Modalities for applying Council of Europe conventions particularly in the field of protection of human rights, in Kosovo are currently under discussion. Following a request from the United Nations and the OSCE for Council of Europe assistance for the forthcoming local elections in Kosovo in October 2002 Ambassador CIVILETTI from Italy, who is well-known in your circle, has been appointed Head of the Council of Europe Observer Mission.

    The Council of Europe also continues to follow closely developments in "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and I will leave for Skopje this very afternoon. We are pleased to note that the positive momentum generated by the Ohrid Agreement is continuing. In particularly, the CoE welcomes the significant progress made with the adoption of the new law on local self-government and the promulgation of an amnesty law, which is a courageous step towards a return to normal life. On the basis of our assessment of recent developments in the country, the Council of Europe stands ready to increase its assistance in specific fields and in particular in the field of local government where a considerable number of laws have still to be elaborated. We will closely co-operate with the ODIHR for the parliamentary elections scheduled for September 2002, as well as subsequently in the population census.

    The situation in the Caucasus remains a major political issue on the Council of Europe agenda. The most difficult challenges the three member States-Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia- face are their unresolved conflicts. Indeed, the conflicts of Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhasia undermine joint European efforts to assist these countries and threaten to limit the process of democratisation in the region. Both conflicts seriously block possibilities for normal economic and political development and are detrimental to the indispensable regional co-operation. Many of the most difficult problems relating to human rights also result from these frozen conflicts. The second big obstacle is corruption, although it has different levels and forms in the three countries. Thirdly, the situation with refugees and internally displaced persons is another cause for serious concern. It is clear that a definitive solution of the refugee situation, and in particular the possibility for refugees to return to their home areas, depends on a peace settlement of the various conflicts, but certain issues of humanitarian nature should be resolved irrespective of political considerations.

    The Council of Europe through its main bodies-the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly-has pursued its work in monitoring the honouring of commitments, entered into by Armenia and Azerbaijan upon their accession in January 2001. The Council of Europe is ready to encourage and assist the two countries to address the remaining commitments with energy and focus on implementing new democratic legislation. We noted with satisfaction that both countries ratified the European Convention on Human Rights in April 2002. Therefore, today all persons in the South Caucasian States benefit from the protection of this Convention. However, our particular requests for fair re-trial of political prisoners in Azerbaijan and the abolition of the death penalty in Armenia remain.

    The Council of Europe fully supports the recent message of Georgia's President, Mr Shevardnadze, that the key to overcoming the present difficult situation in the country is to intensify democratic reforms, notably by ensuring effective follow-up to the restructuring of the judiciary. The recent violent attack against the NGO Liberty Institute has shown how fragile Georgia's democratic development still is, jeopardising freedom of speech and political thought. The Council of Europe stands ready to offer its experience on a broader scale, together with other European partners. I welcome our joint programme with the European Commission in this respect.

    With reference to the conflict in Abkhasia, our hopes are that the recently published proposal of the UN Security Council on the distribution of competences between Tbilisi and Sukhumi could become a basis for negotiations on the future settlement to this conflict. In this context, the position of the EU, CoE, OSCE and other international institutions would be crucial to secure a positive follow-up to the UN document. The Council of Europe is ready to make its contribution through the Venice Commission.

    The Council of Europe continues to support all possible efforts to contribute to a lasting political settlement to the conflict in the Chechen Republic, Russian Federation. Very active in this respect are the Joint Parliamentary Assembly/Russian State Duma Working Group and a broad based Consultative Council, including representatives of the official bodies of Chechnya and the Russian Federation, as well as representatives of civil society.

    On 24 June 2002 I concluded with the Russian Foreign Minister an Agreement extending the mandate of the 3 Council of Europe experts providing consultative expertise to the Office of the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for ensuring human and civil rights and freedoms in the Chechen Republic for the next 6 months, i.e. until 4 January 2003. After the appointment by President Putin of Mr Abdul-Khakim Sultygov as his new Special Representative, I will meet the latter as soon as possible to discuss with him all aspects of the Agreement and in particular the implementation of additional tasks to be carried out by CoE experts, as agreed with Minister Ivanov.

    The Council of Europe continues to follow with interest the developments in Ukraine, particularly after the parliamentary and local elections held in March 2002. We noted with satisfaction the positive evaluation of these elections, made by the international observer mission, which also included representatives of the PACE, underlining that these elections have marked progress towards meeting international standards. We are looking forward to close co-operation with the newly elected Ukrainian Parliament.

    One specific issue, trafficking in human beings, should be urgently addressed by the Ukrainian authorities. The Council of Europe is ready to assist Ukraine in tackling this complex problem with the support of other international organisations.

    The situation in Moldova remains a concern for the Council of Europe against the background of the monitoring procedure on Moldova's obligations. In February 2002 I took the initiative under Article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights and I requested the Government to provide explanations concerning the compatibility of Moldovan domestic law and practice with the provisions of the Convention and its protocols, in particular as regards freedom of thought, of expression and association. Furthermore, two assistance missions in mid-April and early June gave rise to many contacts with the official authorities, the opposition and the representatives of civil society of the country. Subsequently, a target-oriented co-operation programme - as part of a joint programme with the European Commission - has been agreed with the Moldovan authorities to help the country to comply with its commitments. A visit to the Transnistrian region, where the OSCE mediation efforts are very welcomed, also took place. The Council of Europe for its part continues to make available, within its proper competencies, the services of the Venice Commission for constitutional advice with regard to the settlement of the Trasniestrian question.

    I personally took the initiative to invite, in mid-April, as well as two days ago in mid-July, the leaders of the three parliamentary fractions to Strasbourg to discuss the functioning of the "round table" bringing together governmental and opposition representatives, as well as the legislative work linked to the implementation of recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the target-oriented cooperation programme.

    The Council of Europe is following the political developments in Belarus with growing concern. There are a substantial number of cases of restrictions to freedom of the media and freedom of association, as well as cases of arrest and harassment of members of the opposition and representatives of some NGO's. There are also cases of disappearance of oppositional politicians.

    We are further concerned about the present state of relations between Belarus and the OSCE. The Council of Europe urges the Belarusian authorities to dialogue and co-operate with the OSCE in order to find a mutually acceptable solution to the abnormal situation with the Advisory and Monitoring Group as soon as possible. The latest actions against this Group are inconsistent with the Belarusian government's claim that it is interested in improving its relations with the European institutions. I stressed already on many occasions that this attitude does not help the integration of the country into European structures. Following a recent mission to Minsk, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe plans to debate the political situation in Belarus at its September 2002 session. For the time being, the prospects for the PACE reinstating Belarus Special Guest Status, which was suspended in1997, seem to be remote.

    The whole international community regrets the non-co-operative attitude of the authorities which contributes to the country's continued isolation. This is not the right approach and detrimental to the expectation of the Belarusian people to be part, as all the others, of the European family of democratic nations.

    In the human rights field, the most noteworthy event in recent months was the opening for signature of Protocol No 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances. Furthermore, thanks to the initiative by our Parliamentary Assembly we hope that abolition can be achieved in all our observer states.

    Three years after the adoption of the "Common Catalogue of Co-operation Modalities" between our two Organisations we welcome the added value it has brought to relations between the Council of Europe and the OSCE. There has clearly been an intensification and an increase in the number of contacts, co-operation and joint activities at all levels. It is now important to maintain lines of communication between our respective presences in the field and between both Headquarters. While co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE is exemplary in many respects (as working together in Tirana and Belgrade, in Baku and Yerevan or in Chechnya, as well as co-ordinating action between the Council of Europe and the ODIHR on elections issues and judiciary) there is scope for further enhancement. This includes joint co-operation in the fight against terrorism.

    The framework for co-operation discussed at the various meetings between our Organisations, as last week here in Vienna at the "2+2/3+3" meeting at senior officials level, will set the stage for an increased partnership, based on consultations, co-ordination and shared commitments.

    Let me conclude my address by paying a special tribute to Ambassador Gérard Stoudmann, Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights who is today paying his farewell visit to Strasbourg. I expressed yesterday my personal gratitude to him for the lasting and fruitful co-operation in the field of protection of human rights and enhancement of democratic institutions throughout Europe.

    Finally, I would like to inform you that on 26 July the Parliamentary Assembly elected the new Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mrs Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, who will take up her duties on 1 September 2002 for a period of five years.

    Thank you.



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