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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

5 August 2016

New Window of Opportunity in the Transdniestrian Settlement Process

On 2 and 3 June the so-called 5+2 talks on the conflict between Moldova and its breakaway region of Transdniestria resumed in Berlin after a two year hiatus. The current German OSCE Chairmanship was instrumental in helping to re-launch the negotiations, which include Moldova and Transdniestria as the conflict parties, Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE as mediators and guarantors, and the USA and the EU as observers. In an effort to inject further impetus into the talks, on 26 and 27 July, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, traveled to Moldova to hold high-level talks. This blog argues that the resumption of the 5+2 talks has opened a window of opportunity for progress to be achieved on the implementation of key confidence-building measures between now and autumn, when both Moldova and Transdniestria will hold presidential elections. The momentum should not be lost, since tensions in the region have increased significantly since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis in 2014.

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1 July 2016

The possible impact of the Brexit vote on the OSCE

This article argues that the post-Brexit EU has to work hard to maintain its economic power and political leverage in the world. A strong EU is important within the OSCE context, where the Union speaks with one voice and thus has substantial political authority and weight. This authority has to be maintained, especially with regard to the EU's relations with Russia and many other issues that are decided and discussed within the OSCE context.

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SHR Special Issue:

The German OSCE Chairmanship 2016


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External publications

OSCE Peace Operations: Soft Security in Hard Environments

By Walter Kemp, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

International Peace Institute


Although the OSCE has a mandate for peacekeeping, it has not undertaken peacekeeping operations per se. Nonetheless, it has carried out a diverse and extensive range of activities that fall within what have been described as "peace operations." These have included verification, monitoring, and observation missions, particularly the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine. Taking into account lessons from the OSCE's engagement in Ukraine, geopolitical shifts in the OSCE area, and debates within the UN on more effective conflict prevention and an enhanced role for regional arrangements, what are the future prospects for OSCE peace operations?

Tweets from SHRblog
  • 08-08-2016  Need to make progress on #cbms #Transdniestria #Moldova @OSCE

  • 07-08-2016  RT @danbbaer: Congratulations Italy! Foreign Ministers of all 57 OSCE States have, by consensus, chosen Italy as 2018 Chair! https://t.c…

  • 07-08-2016  RT @PascalHeyman: Yesterday's meeting of the #OSCE-led Contact Group on eastern #Ukraine conflict did not bring significant progress https:…

  • 07-08-2016  FMs of German speaking countries stress support for #osce at joint meeting in Vaduz @GER_OSCE @MFA_LI @MFA_Austria

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