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U.S. Rejects Some Russian Demands At OSCE

Vienna, 14 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The United States has rejected several Russian proposals for changing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The head of a U.S. delegation, Julie Finley (eds: woman), said at a meeting about the proposals in Vienna on Tuesday that some basic OSCE operations must not change.

Among its demands, Russia wants the OSCE to publish election assessment reports only after a review by the organization's Permanent Council, where all 55 member states are represented.

But Finley and other Western nations rejected the demand, saying Permanent Council statements require unanimous agreement and therefore a criticized country could suppress a negative assessment by voting against it, under Russia's proposal.

Finley also rejected a Russian demand to give the OSCE Permanent Council control over a country's voluntary financial donations, which are frequently used to support democracy-building projects by OSCE field offices in the former Soviet Union.

Finley said Washington also opposes Russia's desire to negotiate new military confidence-building measures that restrict the size of armed forces in Europe.

An OSCE spokesman told an RFE/RL correspondent that the organization's 55 members will continue negotiations on the