2014-Visit-Kanerva-DacicOSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva (left) and Chairperson-in-Office Ivica Dacic during their meeting in Helsinki, 9 October.COPENHAGEN, 15 January 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) today welcomed the 2015 Serbian Chairmanship of the OSCE and pledged the Assembly's support for its focus on resolving the conflict in Ukraine and other goals.

"On behalf of the OSCE's parliamentary branch, I welcome the Serbian Chairmanship and the new Chairperson-in-Office, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic. What we have witnessed this week -- the appalling attack on a bus and a marked deterioration of the situation in eastern Ukraine -- proves the urgency of the Serbian Chairmanship's goal to facilitate a lasting end to hostilities and broad national dialogue," Kanerva said.

"The elected parliamentarians of the OSCE stand ready to offer our contribution, including new ideas, feedback and oversight, as Serbia leads the Organization during this critical time," he added.

Recalling his recent meeting with the Chairperson-in-Office to discuss Serbia's priorities, Kanerva also welcomed the Chairmanship's commitment to reforming the Organization in the 40th anniversary year of the Helsinki Final Act. He encouraged the Chairmanship to follow the PA's ongoing Helsinki +40 Project.

The OSCE PA president also expressed support for the Chairmanship's goal of working for progress on protracted conflicts and looked forward to Serbia's unique approach based on its own experiences from the conflicts in the Western Balkans.

These and other priorities of the Serbian Chairmanship, including water governance, disaster risk reduction and youth issues, have all been addressed in recent OSCE PA Declarations.

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Dacic is scheduled to address OSCE parliamentarians during the Assembly's Winter Meeting on 19 February in Vienna.