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    MOSCOW SUPPORTS PRESERVING CONSENSUS IN OSCE

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    MOSCOW, March 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - "Russia considers a consensus the basic principle of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) activities and decisions making," the Russian delegation at the session of the OSCE Regular Council said in a statement.

    While commenting on recent rumors that this rule might be reconsidered, Russian delegation stressed, "the rule of consensus reflects the thorough OSCE approach to security problem as well as its principle that each member state is equal."

    Moscow is convinced that democratic essence of the OSCE is most fully reflected and revealed by the principle of consensus.

    "Cancellation or changing of this principle, especially in the situation when organization lacks distinct rules and procedures, will end in losing its basic democratic element and might cause a grave systemic crisis with serious consequences for the OSCE," the delegation said in the statement.

    In this connection, the Russian Foreign Ministry believes that it would be expedient "to increase the effectiveness of the OSCE through real reforms instead of arguing over a change of consensus principle."

    Moscow is going to firmly assert its position, as it is provided for in the principle of consensus that has not been abolished or changed yet.

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