Swiss OSCE Chairperson-in-Office welcomes progress on regional co-operation and reconciliation in Western Balkans

News and Press Release
Originally published

BELGRADE / TIRANA / PRISHTINË/PRIŠTINA, 25 April 2014 - Swiss Foreign Minister and Chairperson-in-Office, Didier Burkhalter, drew a positive conclusion from his two-day visit to the Western Balkans. In his meetings with high-level representatives of the authorities in Belgrade, Tirana and Prishtinë/Priština, he received strong backing for the engagement of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship in the region.

He was pleased with the commitment by all the political leaders he met to strengthen security and stability in the Western Balkans through co-operation. He found strong support for the Chairmanship objectives in the Western Balkans. The objectives are fostering OSCE assistance in the EU-led normalisation of relations in accordance with the Belgrade and Prishtinë/Priština agreement, enhancing regional co-operation, including on migration matters, and advancing reconciliation, particularly with regard to the resolution of the issue of missing persons.

To allow for further progress on these issues, he invited everyone concerned to continue the close and excellent co-operation with his Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Ambassador Gérard Stoudmann.

Burkhalter was glad for the expressions of support by the authorities in Belgrade, Tirana and Prishtinë/Priština for OSCE activities to assist Ukraine in overcoming the current crisis, he said.

He had an exchange of views with representatives from the OSCE field presences and emphasized his appreciation for their relevant and professional work. He also visited the OSCE Mission to Kosovo office in Mitrovica/Mitrovicë North and a project for capacity-building of local police.

In meetings with young Albanians in Tirana and a group of young Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs in Prishtinë/Priština, he applauded their commitment to democracy, human rights and inclusive societies, calling them prime agents for reconciliation in the region.