Press release

European countries urged to make conflict "unthinkable"

The Deputy Prime Minister said that where conflict exists, governments should "seek resolution in good faith and with conviction".

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has urged European nations gathering at a summit on security and cooperation to work towards making conflict between them “unthinkable”.

Speaking today at the meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Astana, Kazakhstan, Mr Clegg said member countries must make a renewed commitment to the organisation’s original principles of liberty, security and peace.

He said:

Thirty-five years ago, our predecessors came together, driven by their common needs, and created a space in which conflict became less likely. The question now for us is: can we make it unthinkable?

I believe we can but it will require a renewed commitment to each other, to the principles that govern our partnership: liberty, security, peace and the rights and freedoms on which this organization was founded.

The Deputy PM said that where conflict exists, governments should “seek resolution in good faith and with conviction”.

Mr Clegg also emphasised the importance of OSCE engagement on issues such as stability in Afghanistan, including securing its northern border to prevent the trafficking of drugs, weapons and people. He announced that the UK will provide extra funds to the OSCE Border Staff College in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to equip officials in the region to ensure more effective border management.

During the summit, the Deputy Prime Minister has held meetings with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He also had talks with leaders and ministers from a range of other countries, including South Korea, Turkey, France, Kyrgyzstan and Poland.

Read the Deputy PM’s speech in full

Published 1 December 2010