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13 January 2016

Key Issues of the German OSCE Chairmanship 2016

Assuming the OSCE Chairmanship in such stormy times is a sign of Germany's strong commitment to making an active contribution to peace and security in Europe. More than 40 years after the adoption of the Helsinki Final Act, fundamental pillars of international order in Europe have been shaken by the force of arms, mutual distrust and competing narratives. Long-standing principles of the European security order have been broken and challenged; borders and the territorial integrity of states have been violated.

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13 January 2016

Ukraine, Protracted Conflicts and the OSCE

Aspects of the Ukraine crisis present enormous problems for the future of osce and other international conflict mediation. Annexation, "hybrid" warfare, the proliferation of non-recognized separatist polities, the absence of a shared baseline of facts and, therefore, the sharp divergence of narratives, and perhaps most of all, the development of fortress mentalities – all of these have challenged the "Helsinki acquis" on which the osce is based.

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SHR Monitor

21 June 2016

At the Frontlines of Peace: Should the OSCE send Armed Personnel to eastern Ukraine?

In recent weeks, confusing information appeared in the international media on the OSCE deploying armed personnel or an armed OSCE police mission to eastern Ukraine, in an endeavor to ensure the security of possible local elections in the Donbas region at some point in the future. This article stresses that currently there is no indication that a formal agreement on this topic has been reached, and that any form of armed security provider can only be deployed once the 57 OSCE states take a formal decision on this by consensus. It should not be ignored that the single most important precondition for holding local elections in eastern Ukraine is a permissive security environment that enables the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to observe the elections in line with its standards.

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5 May 2016

Nagorno-Karabakh: A dangerous conflict that could spiral out of control

On 2 April, fighting broke out in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, killing well over a hundred people in the space of four days and reigniting a 'frozen' conflict that has been going on between Armenians and Azerbaijanis for almost three decades. This recent military escalation shows that there is a real risk for this 'frozen' conflict to remain 'hot' for a while. Another, more serious military confrontation may in fact be imminent. There is also a risk for Russia and Turkey to be drawn into a proxy war. Hence, a diplomatic push is needed to help diffuse tensions. The OSCE, under the leadership of its current German Chairmanship, should therefore come to the forefront with strong initiatives, together with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.

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The German OSCE Chairmanship 2016


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