HC Deb 20 January 1993 vol 217 cc284-5W
Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the CSCE Council meeting in Stockholm of 15 and 16 December.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

[pursuant to the reply, 11 January 1993, c. 561]: The complete text of the answer to my hon. Friend is as follows:

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary represented the United Kingdom at the Council meeting of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe which took place on 14 and 15 December in Stockholm.

The Stockholm meeting marked a further stage in the transition of the CSCE from an organisation primarily involved with setting standards of behaviour in the fields of human rights and international security to one whose task is also to prevent and if necessary end conflicts.

The Council endorsed the work of the international conference of former Yugoslavia. It agreed a detailed policy intended to help prevent the spread of the fighting into other parts of the former Yugoslavia and to tighten sanctions. The CSCE missions in Kosova, Sandjak and Vojvodina will be reinforced.

The Council took steps to promote long-term solutions to the conflict in Moldova. The CSCE will continue to press for agreements to be concluded on the early and complete withdrawal of foreign troops from the territories of the Baltic states and will also dispatch a mission to Estonia to address human rights issues between the different communities in Estonia.

Despite intensive negotiations on Nagorno Karabakh, no progress was made on the declaration of a ceasefire, the dispatch of a CSCE monitoring mission or the convening of the Minsk conference.

The Council strengthened the institutions and procedures of the CSCE in order to help deal with conflict in Europe. Following the Prime Minister's initiative at the Helsinki summit, it established the post of Secretary General, to be filled in 1993. Mr. Max van der Stoel was appointed high commissioner on national minorities. The chairman in office will take steps to ensure co-ordination of CSCE activities with those of the United Nations.

The CSCE's role as one of Europe's security institutions is now better defined and its organisation is evolving to enable it to meet its responsibilities more effectively. It will concentrate on standard setting and monitoring in the fields of human rights and relations between states and also on preventive diplomacy and action to end conflict in Europe. Together with our European partners, we shall continue to support it and work to make it more effective.