hank you, Mr. Chairman, for your warm words of introduction. I am delighted to serve as the Chairperson of the Informal Working Group which will report to the OSCE’s Security Committee and was established pursuant to PC Decision 1039.

As everyone knows, the United States regards as a critical priority the development of confidence building measures in the political-military dimension for the use of information and communications technologies to reduce the risk of conflict among states and to promote an environment of international stability. The digital age and the emergence of cyberspace in the past twenty years have changed the world we live in, and the OSCE, with its comprehensive concept of security, can make a critical contribution toward ensuring that there is an understanding among states in the rapidly evolving field of information and communications technology.

The United States hopes that our work here can contribute to the development of a stable international cyberspace environment where all countries reap the benefits that information and communications technologies afford us. We want to reduce the incentives for cyber attacks while buttressing our mutual security through international cooperation that promotes clarity and transparency while reducing risks of misperception that can lead to conflict and escalation.

Through discussions in the working group, at the local level here in Vienna, and at reinforced meetings where experts from capitals can provide a greater substantive focus, we hope to develop measures to enhance transparency and predictability; we plan to discuss cooperative initiatives that promote and contribute to stability in cyberspace; and we intend, as our final objective, to develop a range of measures that will enhance security throughout our region.

As an initial step, I would like to invite delegations to join me in a Vienna-based meeting that will take place in May (time/room to be announced) here in the Hofburg for an interactive discussion of the issues. We envision that the first capital-level meeting will take place in June, and we will distribute more information about meetings in the coming days.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.