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U.S. Seeks To 'Revitalize' OSCE

Ian Kelly
Ian Kelly
BRUSSELS -- The U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says the United States and its European partners are seeking to "revitalize" the OSCE at the organization's December summit in Astana.

"The feeling among our partners, especially among our European partners, was that since the OSCE hadn't had a summit for 11 years, we needed to have a summit in order to develop a road map for the organization," Ian Kelly told RFE/RL.

Kelly listed three key U.S. objectives: enhancing military transparency and conventional arms control; restoring the OSCE as a platform for collective action; and adapting to the 21st century its 1975 Helsinki commitments on democracy and human rights.

Kelly said Kazakhstan's chairmanship of the OSCE in 2010 brings added focus to the new plans for the organization. "They're the first ex-Soviet chair, that's a really historic chairmanship," Kelly said. "The new challenges to the OSCE space emanate from South Asia and, of course, the first line of defence is Central Asia. It's important that we're going to have the first [OSCE] summit of the 21st century in Central Asia."

The U.S. ambassador said Kazakhstan had done a "good job" protecting the OSCE's key assets -- its "democracy-promoting institutions" -- and had not tried to impose "alien values" on it.

But Kelly also said Washington was "disappointed at [Kazakhstan's] pace of democratic reform" and its failure to meet its commitments in areas such as media freedom and political pluralism.