OSCE committed to economic and environmental issues, says Secretary General at Chernobyl anniversary conference

MINSK, 19 April 2006 - OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut called for intensified efforts to allow for sustainable development of the regions affected by the Chernobyl nuclear tragedy.

Speaking at a conference on the 20th anniversary of the disaster, he said: "With the vivid and lasting memory of what happened in Chernobyl in 1986 and how massively it affected the surrounding regions we should look ahead and intensify efforts to allow for sustainable development of the territories affected and to give the inhabitants the chance to live a normal life.

"The tragic events of 20 years ago changed environmental thinking all over the world. Issues of nuclear safety, environmental security and environmental interdependence have come to the forefront of the international discussion and co-operation."

The international community had helped concerned governments significantly over the years since 1986, and the OSCE participating States, in a Ministerial Declaration marking the 20th anniversary of the disaster, had stressed the undiminished need to alleviate the consequences of the accident.

While commemorating Chernobyl, we should also recognize the great achievements made since then to make the continent safer, the Secretary General added.

He also expressed hope that the Belarusian Government and the OSCE will continue close co-operation to promote the implementation of OSCE commitments.

On the occasion of his visit to Minsk, the Secretary General also met Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov and representatives of civil society in Belarus.