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It has been called the ``roving conversation'' - representatives of Europe and North America capital-hopping from year to year. The 35-member Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) has no headquarters and no employees. Its resolutions can be reached by consensus only and are not legally binding. Yet it is a key reason behind the sea change in East-West relations.

A good thing like this ought to be kept going on more than the present ad-hoc basis, say many Europeans. They want a CSCE secretariat - to make it permanent and give it support staff.

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The mobile conferences started after the signing of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. At that time, the United States, Canada, Soviet Union, and all nations of Europe except Albania agreed to cooperate on three subjects: security, economics, and human rights.

Since then, three major conferences have taken place in Belgrade, Madrid, and Vienna to review implementation of the act. Another function has been to set up further meetings on specific issues in the act.

Until last week, when CSCE representatives finished their first session ever on economic cooperation, the conferences and meetings focused on security and human rights issues.

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