Parliamentarians to debate crises in Syria, Mali during OSCE PA Winter Meeting

Baku, February 14 (AZERTAC). The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly`s 12th Winter Meeting will take place on February 21-22, 2013 at the Hofburg Congress Centre in Vienna.

In a special debate on 22 February the parliamentarians will examine how OSCE countries should respond to crises in Syria, the Sahel and North Africa.

The theme takes into account strong parliamentary interest in the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria, as well as more recent situations unfolding in Mali, Algeria, and Egypt.

The debate follows up on a number of OSCE PA initiatives regarding the crisis in Syria, including a visit to Turkey and to the Turkish-Syrian border in November by PA President Riccardo Migliori (Italy).

In addition to the Special Debate, the Winter Meeting will include addresses by the President of the Austrian Parliament, Barbara Prammer, OSCE PA President Riccardo Migliori (Italy), OSCE PA Special Representative on Gender Issues Hedy Fry (Canada), and OSCE Secretary General Zannier. Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE Leonid Kozhara has also been invited.

Heads of OSCE Institutions, including the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, will address relevant meetings of the General Committees. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, Michael C. Camunez, is speaking to the Second Committee in a keynote address on Good Governance as an OSCE Imperative.

The Winter Meeting is the primary venue for the Assembly`s Members and three General Committees to receive high-level briefings from OSCE officials and discuss draft reports for the upcoming Annual Session. Since 2003, it has also included a special debate on a timely topical issue.

Parliamentary interest in the event has steadily increased since it was first held in 2002, making the Winter Meeting the second largest event on the OSCE PA calendar.

An Azerbaijani delegation to be headed by Vice-speaker of the parliament Bahar Muradova will attend the event.

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