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OSCE summit kicks off in Kazakhstan

European security is on the table as the 56 member states of the OSCE gather in Astana, Kazakhstan for the first top-level summit in more than a decade.

­Leaders including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, French president Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton are in attendance.

Key discussion issues will include the task of overcoming disagreements to Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), from which Russia withdrew three years ago due to US missile defense plans.Russia enters the summit with a proposal to boost the trans-Atlantic group’s role in European security.

"We are talking now about measures to …reinvigorate arms control and overcome the CFE crisis," presidential aide Sergey Prikhodko told journalists on Monday. "Russia has submitted a daft program of further OSCE actions to its partners in the field of arms control and confidence-building measures."

Addressing the summit, President Medvedev said the new treaty for European security is certain to be adopted eventually.

The new treaty we have proposed would be aimed at guaranteeing common security for Europe,” Medvedev said. “I thank everyone here who supports it. It’s been discussed for two-and-a-half years. Maybe the stereotypes of the past are still strong, and this initiative is ahead of its time, but its turn will inevitably come.”

­Victor Mizin, a political analyst from the Institute of Strategic Assessment in Moscow, says the notion behind Medvedev’s plan is not to disband an organization like the OSCE, but instead to bridge security divisions among European countries.

The idea of Medvedev’s plan is to avoid a situation when security in Europe is divided, when we have military conflicts and aggressions, such as the one of Georgia against South Ossetia,” Mizin said. “That is why Russia wants to refurbish, to reinvigorate the current network of existing organizations in Eurasia, OSCE included.”