(QHA) -

Switzerland has assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, naming the Western Balkans and South Caucasus as its priorities, AFP reports.

During its year at the helm of the 57-member body, Switzerland vowed to make a "tangible contribution to fostering security and stability, improving people's lives and strengthening the OSCE's capacity to act".

Switzerland which took over the chairmanship from Ukraine would also "concentrate on combating torture, respecting human rights, including minority rights, promoting democratic elections, and strengthening the rule of law in combating terrorism.

"Work to combat transnational threats generally and natural disaster preparedness and response are also high on the agenda," - Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter said.

The minister will present Switzerland's priorities to the OSCE Permanent Council at the organisation's headquarters in Vienna on January 16.

QHA