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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

16 September 2016

Interview with Daniel Baer, US Ambassador to the OSCE

On 7 September Stephanie Liechtenstein met with Daniel Baer, the US Ambassador to the OSCE, for an interview in Vienna. Ambassador Baer is a strong supporter of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and a staunch defender of fundamental human rights across the OSCE region. In this interview, Ambassador Baer talks about the situation in Ukraine and stresses that the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements is the best framework for a permanent, political solution to the conflict. He underlines the need for the international community to continue to press for complete, free and unfettered access for OSCE monitors to all areas in eastern Ukraine. He stresses that the most important aspect is for Russia to give a signal to its proxies on the ground in Ukraine that it does not want the OSCE monitors to be obstructed, harassed or shot at. Ambassador Baer describes the situation in parts of eastern Ukraine as a "dystopia that is run by armed thugs with machine guns patrolling the streets." He believes that the security environment will have to change significantly before free and fair local elections can be run in eastern Ukraine. He does not exclude that at that point an armed presence may be needed to help ensure a safe environment for the elections. Apart from the situation in Ukraine, Ambassador Baer provides his views on the OSCE role in managing the migration and refugee flows, on the upcoming Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw as well as on the upcoming Presidential Elections in the United States.

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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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SHR Special Issue:

The German OSCE Chairmanship 2016

 

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External publications

Reviving Arms Control in Europe

By Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister

Project Syndicate

26 August 2016

 

Keeping an International Eye on Ukraine

By Daniel Baer, US Ambassador to the OSCE

The Wall Street Journal

16 August 2016

 

OSCE Peace Operations: Soft Security in Hard Environments

By Walter Kemp, Senior Vice President

International Peace Institute

27 June 2016


Tweets from SHRblog
  • 21-09-2016  Poroshenko calls for full access of #OSCE monitors; stresses readiness to move fwd implementation of the Minsk Agreements #UNGA @OSCE_SMM

  • 20-09-2016  #hdim2016 pls listen to Obama's #UNGA speech. Pro-democracy, tolerance, human rights, religious freedom, multilater… https://t.co/oyLjnBlMOc

  • 20-09-2016  RT @OSCE: SecGen @lamzannier at #un4refugeesmigrants: Meeting today to reject any form of manipulation of issue of migration > https://t.co…

  • 19-09-2016  OSCE's role in managing migration and refugee challenges, US Amb. OSCE #UN4RefugeesMigrants https://t.co/YnnCO8sGjA https://t.co/AYn8mbgMNn

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