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Sweden presents 2021 priorities to OSCE Permanent Council

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Over the coming year, the Swedish Chairpersonship will do its part to ensure that the OSCE can make a real difference on the ground and defend the principles on which the Organization was founded, said OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Ann Linde in her virtual address to the Permanent Council today.

"In a situation where multilateral co-operation and international law are increasingly being challenged, and our agreements and instruments to strengthen security are being questioned, we need to remind ourselves why we designed them in the first place," said Linde. "Sweden is convinced that multilateral co-operation is the best way to address our common challenges. Sweden has shown that we are ready to shoulder our responsibility for the multilateral system."

Elaborating on the Chairpersonship's priorities, she said they would focus on the principles and commitments shared by all 57 participating States, defending the European security order and upholding the OSCE's concept of comprehensive security. Political and economic security, human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and equality are interrelated and interconnected, she added.

"Through the shared commitments on which the OSCE was founded, the link between security and respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law is crystal clear," said Linde. "Together, we have declared all OSCE principles and commitments to be matters of immediate and legitimate concern to all participating States."

"By holding each other accountable, we make sure that our commitments remain relevant. By honoring our commitments, we make sure that our region is safe. This is where the unique value of our Organization lies."

Linde said the region's conflict resolution efforts are a high priority, noting the ongoing conflicts and crises in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Belarus.

"Threats to international peace and security, as well as the suffering caused by conflicts, are simply unacceptable," Linde said. "We, therefore, need to keep the resolution of the conflicts in our region at the top of our agenda."

She said that the Chair would call for respect for international law in all conflicts and back measures to mitigate the humanitarian consequences and advocate an inclusive approach. The Chair remains ready to engage directly with stakeholders and offers OSCE's good offices to facilitate solutions, Linde added.

She underscored that the OSCE "is only as effective as we, the participating States, allow it to be" and called on participating States to "engage constructively" on the OSCE Unified Budget. She said the Chair stands "ready to do our part in leading negotiations."

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Azerbaijan confirms 332 new Covid-19 cases, 12 died

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Azerbaijan recorded 332 new coronavirus cases, Task Force under the Cabinet of Ministers told Report.

As many as 897 people recovered from the infection, while 12 patients lost their lives over the past day.

So far, 228,028 people have contracted COVID-19 in Azerbaijan, 217,617 have recovered, while 3,044 died. At present, 7,367 people are receiving treatment.

Azerbaijan has conducted 2,336,498 coronavirus tests over the past period, including 7,991 today.

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EU Ambassador expresses condolences to families of 20 January victims

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"On this day of sorrow, together with the people of Azerbaijan, the EU delegation is mourning the victims of the 'Black January' tragedy," said the head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Kestutis Jankauskas.

"The tragic events underline the need for peace, reconciliation, and humanity for a better future. I express my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the January events," the EU ambassador added.

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Netflix to screen popular novel

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US Netflix will screen Roald Dahl's Matilda, Report mentions, citing The Hollywood Report.

The film will star 11-year-old Alisha Weir. Oscar-winner Emma Thompson will play the role of Agatha Trunchbull, a cruel director in the novel.

According to the plot, Matilda is a wunderkind. But parents treat her with disdain, and the school principal makes fun of her. Matilda decides to reprimand them.

The previous screening of the tale took place in 1996. The film was directed by Danny De Vito and played by Mara Wilson.

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