Wednesday 13 December 2017

Clinton challenges 'Soviet' plans for Europe

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

US SECRETARY of State Hillary Clinton sparred with her Russian counterpart over human rights and European security in Dublin last night.

Ms Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also met with UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to discuss cooperation in Syria.

The high-profile foreign ministers are attending a conference hosted by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), entrusted with overseeing border agreements during the Cold War, is holding its annual summit in the RDS.

The US wants to use the OSCE to promote human rights in former Soviet territories.

"I am here today to express a growing concern for the future of this organisation and the values it has always championed," Ms Clinton said in a speech.

"More than 20 years after the end of the Cold War, the work of creating a Europe that is whole, free and at peace remains unfinished."


Mr Lavrov attacked "unilateralist" efforts to control the Vienna-based OSCE, plans to build an anti-missile shield and looser control over conventional weapons stockpiles.

In 2007, Russia suspended the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, an agreement to balance its military power with that of Western Europe.

Russia has also objected to NATO expansion and the US use of bases in former Soviet republics for military operations.

Ms Clinton met with a group of human-rights activists from seven OSCE member countries, mainly in eastern Europe and central Asia.

She told them Russia is leading an effort to "re-Sovietize" the region. "It's going to be called a customs union," she said.

"It will be called the Eurasian Union and all of that, but let's make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it."

Irish Independent

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