Written answers

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

OSCE Presidency

8:00 pm

Photo of Eric ByrneEric Byrne (Dublin South Central, Labour)
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Question 75: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in relation to Ireland’s presidency of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in 2012, if it is expected that a committee or sub-committee will be established to oversee the presidency. [17135/11]

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I will be the Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) for the duration of our chairmanship and will bear overall responsibility for the executive action of the organisation and the co-ordination of its activities. My officials have been working on preparations for the OSCE chairmanship since last summer and, to this end, a dedicated OSCE Task Force was established in my Department in October. This is likely to number approximately 15 officials, with a similar number working at Ireland’s Permanent Mission to the OSCE in Vienna. The OSCE’s activities cover a broad spectrum of activities and I want to ensure that all our government Departments are in a position to contribute to, and gain from, our chairmanship. To this end, an Inter-Departmental meeting took place earlier this year and regular consultations have been held with officials from other government Departments, who will be able to contribute relevant expertise over the course of Ireland’s chairmanship. With regard to the Houses of the Oireachtas, I would expect that the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs will discuss OSCE developments in the course of its work.

The OSCE remains a cornerstone of peace, security and prosperity in Europe and I look forward greatly to the challenge of providing its political leadership next year.

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