Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)
Attendance of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov at the 15th Ministerial Session of the Council of the Baltic Sea States in Helsinger, Denmark, June 3-4, 2009
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, attended a regular ministerial session of the Council of the Baltic Sea States from June 3-4.
Session participants representing the Council member states, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, as well as the European Commission devoted their main attention to discussing Baltic cooperation prospects in the context of the previous session's decisions on the reform of the CBSS with a view to raising the effectiveness of its work and rationalizing the entire system of multilateral Baltic cooperation. The thesis about the importance of strengthening the coordinating functions of the Council as the leading intergovernmental organization focused on carrying out specific cooperation projects, significant for the entire region, keynoted the session.
The heads of the foreign affairs agencies approved the renewed statutory documents of the CBSS – the regulations concerning the organization and its secretariat and the rules on third-party participation in Council activities – and adopted an outcome Declaration articulating the tasks in deepening the structural reform of the Council, and fixing a broad spectrum of upcoming or already-accomplished activities and projects in all priority areas of Baltic cooperation (environment, economic development, energy, education and culture, and civil security and the human dimension). The Russian side accentuated the importance of broadening cooperation in combating human trafficking and defending children's rights and in such areas as nuclear and radiation safety, civil protection, youth policies, people-to-people contacts, and the promotion of tolerance. It was emphasized that the situation of unprecedented mass non-citizenship in the region and a number of other problems linked to the position of national minorities should also remain in the Council's sphere of attention.
The composition of CBSS observer states (Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, the United States, France and Ukraine) has widened. From July 1, 2009, Belarus, Spain and Romania will also enjoy observer status. In accordance with the principle of annual rotation, the Council presidency passed to Lithuania.
On the sidelines of the session, Sergey Lavrov held a number of bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of CBSS member and observer states.
June 5, 2009