Regional seminar in Minsk highlights role of OSCE Code of Conduct

The FINANCIAL -- MINSK. A regional OSCE-organized seminar that started in Minsk today highlights the role of the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, a key security- and confidence-building measure.

"The two-day seminar, organized by the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre in co-operation with the Belarus Foreign Ministry and the OSCE Office in Minsk, focuses on the implementation of the Code of Conduct. The Code commits OSCE participating States to provide for democratic oversight of their security sector and ensure the neutrality of the armed forces. Other provisions in the Code include a call on participating States to maintain only such military forces that are commensurate for individual and collective defence," OSCE informs.

Experts from Belarus, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Ukraine , Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland will share experiences and challenges in the implementation of the Code during the seminar, which is co-sponsored by Switzerland and Austria.

"The OSCE is the only pan-European organisation that applies a comprehensive and indivisible approach to security matters," said Ambassador Benedikt Haller, Head of the OSCE Office in Minsk. "This seminar aims to strengthen trust and mutual understanding among the region's OSCE participating States."

The Code, adopted by the OSCE participating States in 1994, is the most comprehensive compilation of OSCE principles and norms related to politico-military aspects of security and the use of armed forces within and between states.

Wolfgang Zellner, Head of Centre for OSCE Research and a keynote speaker at the seminar, said the Code served two main objectives: "to protect smaller states from larger states and to protect citizens from any harm states can do them with the instrument of armed forces. With its comprehensive approach, the Code has much to contribute to the normative basis of future European security."


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