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Norwegian to lead OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro

The Norwegian Ambassador, Hans Ola Urstad, was appointed Head of the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Mission to Serbia and Montenegro on 27 January. Urstad will lead a team of more than 200 persons playing an important role in the work to gain high standards of democracy and human rights in the area.

30/01/2006 :: The Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre congratulates Urstad with the appointment: “Hans Ola Urstad is the perfect choice for the job. With his long experience and network from his job as the Norwegian ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro he will provide the organization with good relationships with different parts of the society in the country”, the Minister stated.

Serbia and Montenegro has during the last five years moved towards the goal of greater European Integration. This was confirmed at the EU Western Balkans summit in Thessaloniki, Greece, in June 2003 when the country was given the status as a potential candidate for EU accession. In April 2005 the Commission concluded that Serbia and Montenegro is sufficiently prepared to negotiate a Stabilization and Association Agreement. Such an agreement will establish formal contractual relations between the EU and Serbia and Montenegro.

The EU sets high targets when it comes to human rights and protection of minorities for future member states. This makes the cooperation with the OSCE in Serbia and Montenegro and in the region as a whole, highly important in the process towards accession to the EU.

A whole reign of political tasks is ahead for Serbia and Montenegro. The negotiations to solve the future of Kosovo as well as a national referendum in Montenegro for or against the state union contribute to the importances of both the European Union and OSCE in the region. “The international society has to be ready to prepare and contribute to make these processes as democratic and peaceful as possible”, the Norwegian Foreign Minister said.

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Ambassador Hans Ola UrstadPhoto: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo