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Volume 454: debated on Monday 11 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of Statefor Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Governments have made representations on the future chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe; and whether the United Kingdom has declared its support for a candidate. (108049)

Spain and Finland will chair the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Kazakhstan has expressed interest in chairing the OSCE in 2009, Greece and Lithuania in 2010, Albania in 2012 and Bulgaria in 2013. The chairmanship for 2009 will be decided at the latest at the Ministerial Council in Madrid in 2007.

The issue of a Kazakhstan chairmanship was discussed with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister during President Nazarbayev's visit in November 2006. The UK position is that any future chair will needto exemplify the standards and commitments of the organisation. Our support will be based on this criterion.