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1996 - PMQT Written Answers 16th December 1996

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 16th December 1996.


PRIME MINISTER:

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Sir Peter Emery: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his speech at the Lisbon summit of 2 December, if he will make a statement on the role of the parliamentary assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and in respect of the expansion of the activities of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The Prime Minister: I represented the United Kingdom at the summit meeting of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Lisbon on 2 and 3 December, accompanied by my right hon. and learned Friend, the Foreign Secretary. The meeting adopted the Lisbon summit declaration and the Lisbon declaration on a common and comprehensive security model for Europe for the 21st century. Copies of these documents will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

The summit welcomed a separate decision on the mandate for negotiation next year on modernising the treaty on conventional forces in Europe.

In the margins of the summit, I had discussions with several Heads of State and Government, including the Presidents of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Chancellor Kohl of Germany, Prime Minister Chernomyrdin of Russia and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel.

Prospects for strengthening European security in the next century were the theme of many speeches to the summit and of my bilateral meetings. I explained to Prime Minister Chernomyrdin not only that enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union would be evolutionary transparent processes, but our strong conviction that European security for the future should be built in partnership with Russia.

The declaration on the security model includes a decision to consider developing a charter on European security which can serve the needs of our peoples in the new century. The United Kingdom will contribute actively to this work. We shall emphasise the need for security organisations which adhere to OSCE commitments to work together, as in Bosnia, to defuse tension, prevent conflict, and build prosperous, democratic civil society throughout Europe.

The Lisbon declaration draws attention to the OSCE's expanding role in conflict prevention, management and resolution, including particularly the high commissioner on national minorities and long-term missions in countries such as Moldavia and Georgia. The parliamentary assembly contributes to this effort particularly through its election monitoring programme. The Lisbon declaration confirmed moreover, that the OSCE would continue to play an important role in the consolidation of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1997.