Sweden takes over OSCE Chair / Photo from UNIAN

Sweden takes over the OSCE Chair today, January 1, and will in the coming year focus on defending the European security order, addressing protracted conflicts and enhancing democracy and gender equality.

"Sweden is honored to take over the Chair of the OSCE at a time when our region needs to come together to focus on our common security, based on the principles and commitments we all have made," said Ann Linde, Sweden's Foreign Minister and the new OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, as reported on the OSCE's website.

"While conflicts and political crises continue to challenge security, international law, democratic principles and sustainable development, the OSCE can serve as a crucial multilateral platform to tackle these challenges and build stronger societies together."

"Our priorities as Chair will be to emphasize the fundamental tasks of the OSCE; defending the European security order, upholding the OSCE concept of comprehensive security and to contribute to resolving the conflicts in our region. On January 14, I will present our program in detail to the OSCE Permanent Council," Linde added.

Read alsoDonbas war update: Ukraine records four ceasefire violations on Dec 31"The ongoing conflicts and crises in the OSCE area, such as the situations we see in Belarus, in and around Ukraine and the increased tensions around Nagorno-Karabakh require the continued, common attention of our organization. This will naturally be on our agenda at the beginning of the year."

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office noted that enhancing gender equality would be a key priority of the Swedish Chair.

"In line with the organization's concept of comprehensive security we will stress the inclusion and meaningful participation of women in all phases of the conflict cycle, and move forward the Women, Peace and Security agenda. This is crucial for the prevention and mitigation of conflicts, as well as to consolidate peace."

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