Cyprus is one of the 35 signatory states of the “Final Act” concluded in Helsinki in 1975, and was an active participant in the process of the then Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which on 1 January 1995 became an international organization under the name of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The Helsinki Final Act is a politically binding agreement consisting of basic principles guiding the relations between its participating states such as the sovereignty and the territorial integrity, as well as the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Since the conception of the CSCE in the early 1970΄s, Cyprus had contributed in making the CSCE a process of common European progress and a forum for dialogue and cooperation between East and West. The end of the Cold War and the transformation of the political landscape in Europe, led the participating states of the CSCE to draw up the Charter of Paris for a new Europe, with the vision of a new role for the CSCE as the main guarantor of security in a new Europe free of dividing lines.
Today, with 57 States from Europe, Central Asia and North America, the OSCE aims for a comprehensive and co-operative security to a region that stretches from Vancouver to Vladivostok. The Organization addresses a wide range of security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities.
At the last OSCE Ministerial Conference, which took place in Kyiv, participating States adopted decisions, declarations and statements on protracted conflicts, stronger OSCE work on energy and environment, efforts to address transnational threats, freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, improving the situation of Roma and Sinti, and a reaffirmation of the Helsinki +40 process to map the OSCE’s future path.
Cyprus attaches great importance to the Treaty on Open Skies, an accord on unarmed observation flights over the territory of OSCE participating States, that is closely associated with the Organization as a confidence and security-building measure that provides enhanced transparency in military activities. The Treaty was entered in to force on January 1, 2002. It is regrettable that Cyprus is still blocked from joining the Treaty by Turkey, which is one participating state of the Organization.
As a member of the EU, Cyprus continues to be actively involved in the work of the OSCE. It supports the need for implementation of the commitments of the participating states and recognizes the important role of the OSCE in addressing traditional as well as new challenges and threats to security. With its geographical position and longstanding experience, Cyprus actively contributes in reinforcing the OSCE - Mediterranean Partnership.