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On 21 and 22 February 2002, more than 230 parliamentarians from 50 OSCE participating States met in the OSCE premises in Vienna to discuss current international developments and to be briefed by senior representatives of the OSCE Governmental side. The Winter Meeting also served as an opportunity for parliamentarians to hear presentations by the three General Committee Rapporteurs, Mr. Theo van den Doel, Mrs. Barbara Haering and Mr. Svend Robinson and to discuss their draft reports on the role of the OSCE in the fight against terrorism, which is the theme of the upcoming OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Annual Session in July.

In his opening address the President of Austria, Dr. Thomas Klestil underlined the importance of this first Assembly Winter Meeting: "I see the holding of the First Winter Meeting in the premises of the OSCE as a further step towards strengthening the Parliamentary dimension of OSCE activities." The President also addressed the topic of fighting terrorism, stressing that fighting terrorism should not be allowed to undermine Human Rights and democratic principles. These topics were also mentioned by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Portuguese Foreign Minister, Mr. Jaime Gama in his address to the parliamentarians: "...the Portuguese Chairmanship sees the First Winter Meeting as a clear expression of the vitality of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly" he said "Enhancing the role of the Parliamentary Assembly is an objective that the Portuguese Chairmanship fully endorses. This is not a bureaucratic aim. On the contrary, and as a founding member of this central Institution, I believe that our goal is to allow the Parliamentary Assembly to perform the ambitious role it has been entrusted with, thus contributing to the development of a pluralistic parliamentary culture in the OSCE area".

The opening meeting was chaired by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Adrian Severin, who stressed that the principal objectives of the Winter Meetings were to allow increased interaction with the Governmental side of the OSCE and to prepare for the upcoming Annual Session in July.

President Severin argued that the fight against terrorism "should not in any way undermine the basic principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms that form precisely the foundation of our civilization." In this context he drew attention to the concept of "multicultural security". "We, the OSCE parliamentarians could contribute to the fight against terrorism not only by adopting the necessary legislation, but also by networking across various cultures and by promoting inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue through inter-parliamentary dialogue."

Over the two-day Meeting delegates also heard presentations by OSCE Secretary General Jan Kubis and other Senior OSCE Officials in the fields of Politico-Military Affairs, Economic Development and Human Rights.