OSCE Familiarization Tour, May 18-20
Seven journalists and one academic from the protracted conflict states - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova - participated in the first USOSCE-sponsored familiarization tour of the OSCE and UN offices in Vienna. The program was designed to promote more insightful and accurate reporting of the OSCE's activities, particularly its efforts to resolve the protracted conflicts over Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. During their three days of meetings with senior USOSCE, OSCE and UN officials and members of their national delegations to the OSCE, the participants discussed the conflict cycle (i.e., early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict reconstruction), the OSCE mechanisms designed to resolve the protracted conflicts, and the transnational threats and challenges such as drugs and weapons trafficking as well as human rights abuses that complicate these efforts. The participants found the meetings to be extremely worthwhile and some noted their respective intentions to follow up and report on various issues raised during their discussions.
The program would not have been possible without the help of the public affairs sections in Embassies Yerevan, Baku, Tbilisi and Chisinau, which selected the participants, and in the U.S. mission to UN offices in Vienna, which arranged for the meetings with UN officials. The USOSCE is planning on similar familiarization tours for journalists from the Balkans and Central Asia.