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OSCE summit: the mountain gives birth to a mouse

Harry Hummel
Policy 02 December 2010

The end of the 1, 2 December OSCE summit looked a farce: journalists and other observers hanging out from 1 PM, the scheduled end time, till midnight for the ‘Astana commemorative declaration’ to be presented. At last the mountain had given birth to a mouse… Better than nothing? Probably yes.

It seemed the Kazakh chairmanship had underestimated the difficulty of getting consensus on the ‘frozen’ conflicts of the south Caucasus. It was good that at least on one other heritage of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, nuclear disarmament, some progress could be made, with the Belarus announcement of giving up highly enriched uranium stocks.

NGOs that at their parallel conference had appealed for more intense OSCE involvement with human dimension issues promarily in the post-Soviet space, were naturally unsatisfied. They have their agenda now for the coming years.

And the coming Chairmanships have their agenda as well, for the OSCE to remain relevant. Progress on the frozen conflicts will have to be shown. Increased engagement in Central Asia will have to result in real stability through better minority policies and more respect for the rule of law. Human dimension work generally will have to be strengthened. Can increased engagement of civil society with the OSCE, as proposed by the parallel conference, be of assistance here?