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OSCE Meeting Ends Without Joint Declaration


 U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried said "Russia has an obligation...to let in international observers."

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried said "Russia has an obligation...to let in international observers."

Foreign ministers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe failed to agree on a joint declaration at the end of a meeting in Helsinki today.

Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb of Finland, which currently chairs the OSCE, said a "window of opportunity" had been missed.

He said he was "a little bit disappointed that we didn't get a political declaration.... But at least we were able to sort a few of the key issues."

During the two-day talks, OSCE ministers discussed conflict resolution, especially in light of the recent war between Russia and Georgia, as well as a proposal floated by Russia for a new European security pact.

One of the stumbling blocks was Moscow's reluctance to allow international monitors into Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia, which is still controlled by Russian troops after the war with Georgia in August.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried said "Russia has an obligation...to let in international observers."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Western arms shipments to Georgia were partly to blame for tension in the Caucasus region.

The 56-country group, which makes decisions by consensus, has not been able to reach a joint political declaration since 2002.

compiled from agency reports
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