The area of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should not be divided between “East of Vienna” and “West of Vienna” and security across the entire Eurasian and Euro-Atlantic space should be held indivisible and interlinked through all Dimensions of the OSCE, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis said on 5 April at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University.

At the University, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, head of the Lithuanian diplomacy gave a lecture “Euro-Atlantic security in the 21st century”. Minister A.Ažubalis delivered the lecture at the second annual “OSCE Talks” seminar “Building bridges: security community and partnerships for change” at Vilnius University.

At the seminar, experts and practitioners examine challenges of modern security and cooperation problems: conflicts and their regulation, existence of “gray areas” and the developments in North Africa, the role of multidirectional diplomacy in dealing with issues such as civil society, gender equality and media freedom.

According to Minister A.Ažubalis, the impression is that since the adoption of the Helsinki Final Act, there has been an underlying sense that the OSCE area is divided between “East of Vienna” and “West of Vienna.”

However, he states that in December 2010 the OSCE participating States adopted Declaration in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, thus, committing themselves to establish a single security community across the entire Eurasian and Euro-Atlantic space, indivisible, interlinked, through all three Dimensions: the Politico-Military Dimension, the Economic and Environmental Dimension and the Human Dimension.

“In the OSCE, security is bound up in our respect for the dignity of each individual, and the acceptance of differences in our diverse and rich cultures,” Minister A.Ažubalis said.

According to him, this was Lithuania’s essential objective in every meeting and talks in the course of the One Hundred Days of the Lithuanian OSCE Chairmanship.

The Minister also spoke about the situation in Kyrgyzstan. In his opinion, in southern Kyrgyzstan and Osh Province, where hundreds of lives were lost last year and the situation remained tense, consistent support of the international community is necessary to restore trust between communities.

Minister A.Ažubalis expressed concern about current tendencies in Russia and in the field of free assembly in Azerbaijan.

“We must ensure the freedom to speak out without fear of injury, imprisonment or even death.  These are guarantees which must be preserved and improved throughout the OSCE area, with no regard to East or West,” the Minister stressed.

The Minister also regretted that Belarus decided to close down the OSCE Office in the country.

Minister A.Ažubalis said he saw obvious resistance to change in areas of protracted conflicts, particularly when it threatened the status quo of the countries. He also recalled some of the OSCE success stories - Croatia and Serbia - and encouraged the countries to overcome years of negative historical experience.

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office also said that the OSCE as an organization played an important role, had created value-added worth and accumulated rich experience. According to him, events in North Africa showed that the OSCE could help the countries in the region and share its best practices.