Since the first reports detailing the presence of foreigner participating in the Syrian civil war in September 2011, the number of foreign fighters has increased exponentially. Especially European policymakers are worried about the potential threat posed by the presence of hundreds of European foreign fighters in Syria and the possibility that some of them could return to stage an attack. This article examines the challenges European policymakers face when addressing the foreign fighter phenomenon in general, and that of returnees in particular.Read more
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine is currently the only international presence that operates throughout Ukraine – including in the east and south-east of the country where fighting is taking place between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian rebels. Since its inception in March 2014, the SMM has established an impressive network of contacts with all sides in Ukraine and it has become the 'eyes and ears of the international community on the ground in Ukraine'. Alexander Hug, the Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM explains in this interview how the SMM operates in Ukraine.Read more
On 12 February 2015 a package of measures was agreed in Minsk, which serves as an implementation plan of the September 2014 Minsk Agreements. The package of measures was signed by the Contact Group, after the so-called Normandy group of states (consisting of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France) engaged in marathon negotiations in Minsk in order to bring an end to renewed bloodshed and fighting in eastern Ukraine. In this interview, Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine states that on 21 February OSCE monitors were able to enter Debaltseve for the first time. He also explains why he believes that additional technological equipment could help the unarmed civilian monitoring mission to perform its tasks efficiently, especially in light of the volatile security situation. In his opinion, what is needed the most though is that political will is translated into operational instructions on the ground.Read more
This year, the Munich Security Conference presented the Ewald von Kleist Award to the OSCE for its "contribution to peace, stability and security in Europe, particularly its efforts regarding the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine as well as its diplomatic attempts to end the crisis." The Award is named after Ewald von Kleist, who founded the Munich Security Conference in 1963 and chaired it until 1998. Ewald von Kleist was active in the German resistance to Nazism and was also part of the 20 July 1944 plot to kill Adolf Hitler. The prize was accepted by the Foreign Ministers of the OSCE Troika, Serbia, Switzerland and Germany as well as by the OSCE Secretary General.Read more
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