OSCE CHAIR POINTS OUT RUSSIA'S PROMINENCE

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VIENNA, February 1 (RIA Novosti's Borislav Pechnikov) - Russia is prominent at every level on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, says Dimitrij Rupel, Slovenia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and acting OSCE chair.

"Russia is playing a prominent part in the OSCE at all levels from minister to each and every Russian diplomat, political functionary or any other officer engaged in the various fields of OSCE activities," Mr. Rupel remarked in a statement. He made it after conference with Sergei Lavrov, Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Moscow.

As the Slovene minister emphasized, he shares "Russia's desire to closely follow every aspect of security, be it military-political, economic or environmental, and the domain of human dimensions".

"Russia and the OSCE share the desire to make the organization stronger and more effective, and enhance its orientation on meeting the needs of every OSCE member country," Mr. Rupel went on.

The OSCE chair greeted "Russian support for top priorities of Slovene OSCE chairmanship-in particular, to reform the OSCE, revive it, and give it a new balance."

"Negotiations with Sergei Lavrov made me more optimistic about the chance to settle the OSCE membership fee issue," he added.

As for monitoring elections in countries within the OSCE activity zone, Mr. Rupel reassured he was "open for discussions that would help find ways to enhance the efficiency of OSCE observer missions." The OSCE chair called on Russia to forward more observers to OSCE missions at particular election stages and levels. He approved an idea for OSCE and CIS election experts to join efforts so as to exchange information and poll evaluation methods.

As he emphasized, Mr. Rupel was "perfectly satisfied by frank and outspoken opinion exchanges with Russian governmental spokesmen on how to make the OSCE more responsible and its work more efficient so as to buttress the security of all 55 OSCE member countries."

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