OSCE chief to visits Russia for talks

The chairman of Europe's leading security organization was set to meet with Russia's top diplomat Thursday for talks in which Russia was expected to criticize the organization. At talks with Karel De Gucht, head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to raise Russia's continuing concerns about the OSCE's activities.

Moscow was particularly critical of the OSCE after the organization criticized elections in former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia. The OSCE report helped lead to new voting won by pro-Western leaders. Russia claims OSCE monitoring practices are colored by political interests.

Earlier this month, De Gucht, who is also Belgium's foreign minister, told the 55-nation OSCE Permanent Council that the sensitive issue of energy supplies, which surfaced recently with a gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine, was high on its agenda.

De Gucht's trip to Moscow comes after a visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan where the OSCE is trying to help resolve the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, reports the AP. N.U.

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