OSCE Office marks 40th anniversary of Helsinki Final Act in Armenia

High level representatives from the Armenian government, civil society and media gathered today in Yerevan to participate in the celebratory event organized by the OSCE Office in Yerevan on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, the founding document of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

“The role of the Helsinki Process in bringing about the end of the Cold War cannot be overestimated. Yet with the end of the East-West stand-off in the 1990s we saw the emergence of new challenges to security and sources of conflict,” said Marcel Peško, OSCE Director of the Conflict Prevent Centre. “The foundations of the security system which served us for so long are now in jeopardy. We need to look for creative ways to overcome growing divisions, to engage in a meaningful dialogue to address the old and new security challenges. Armenia can and should play an important role in this process.”

The Armenian Foreign Minister, Edward Nalbandian, said: “Armenia has established a close cooperation with the OSCE bodies, the Office in Yerevan – the only full-fledged OSCE office in the South Caucasus, vividly demonstrating Armenia’s attitude towards the international cooperation and the existing regional realities. 35 states signed the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. Today the OSCE comprises of 57 participating states. This considerable enlargement of the OSCE family is the result of the implementation of the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, in particular the right of people to self-determination.

The full implementation of the norms set forth by the Helsinki Final Act 40 years ago, which we have inherited is one of the essential prerequisites for peace, security and prosperity in Europe. Therefore, constant care and attention to it should occupy a pivotal place in current international relation”.

The Helsinki Final Act, signed by presidents and prime ministers from 35 countries on 1 August 1975, was seen as a major step in reducing Cold War tensions and led to the formation of a permanent forum for dialogue on security – the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, now the OSCE. The Act established a unique comprehensive definition of security – encompassing the politico-military, the economic-environmental and the human dimensions – and along with the commitments subsequently agreed by the participating States continues to guide the OSCE’s work. Its ten basic principles guide the conduct of the participating States vis-a-vis their citizens, as well as among each other.

The Special Envelope with an OSCE postage stamp and special postmark was prepared for the occasion by the Haypost National Operator of Armenia and officially launched at the event. Also launched at the event were a photo exhibition and an anniversary publication with messages from high officials, brief information on the Helsinki Final Act and activities of the OSCE and the Office in Yerevan.

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