All Articles containing the tag: OSCE CHAIRMANSHIP

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Security and Human Rights Monitor


Interview with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz
Photo: Stephanie Liechtenstein
13 January 2017 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 1

Interview with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz

As Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz assumes the function of OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, he shares in this interview his personal views on the main strengths of the OSCE, provides an impression of his visit to the frontline in eastern Ukraine at the beginning of the year, and explains how Austria's neutrality can help to act the country as a bridge-builder between East and West. He also talks about the necessity to work together towards a greater understanding among OSCE states to find common ways on how to adapt politico-military tools to today's challenges, for example by modernizing the Vienna Document and by reinvigorating conventional arms control.

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13 January 2017 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

Conventional Arms control and dialogue on European security major topics for Austrian OSCE Chairmanship

Conventional arms control is considered the cornerstone of European security. The main international document in this context is the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty), which was negotiated during the final years of the Cold War, and which set equal limits on the amount of conventional weapons that NATO and the Warsaw Pact could deploy. The CFE Treaty led to the destruction of tens of thousands of heavy weapons in Europe in the years following 1990.

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Building Trust in a Turbulent Year: Germany’s 2016 OSCE Chairmanship
Photo: OSCE
22 December 2016 - Christian Nünlist* - 0

Building Trust in a Turbulent Year: Germany’s 2016 OSCE Chairmanship

The OSCE Ministerial Council (MC) meeting, held in Hamburg on 8 and 9 December, was the final highlight of Germany's 2016 OSCE Chairmanship. At the opening session, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (CiO), German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier compared the OSCE to a lighthouse to guide the course of the organization in turbulent times. The metaphor of "turbulent times" was used in almost every OSCE speech Steinmeier gave in 2016. In such stormy times, the OSCE offers a platform for dialogue and cooperation.

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Nagorno-Karabakh: A dangerous conflict that could spiral out of control
Photo: OSCE/Alexander Nitzsche
5 May 2016 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

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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Germany takes over OSCE Chairmanship in “stormy times”, says Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Photo: Stephanie Liechtenstein
20 January 2016 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

Germany takes over OSCE Chairmanship in “stormy times”, says Frank-Walter Steinmeier

On 14 January, German Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, presented the priorities of the German OSCE Chairmanship to OSCE delegations in Vienna. The address by the new OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) to the OSCE Permanent Council at the beginning of the year is an annual event. This year, the Permanent Council meeting room was packed with journalists, diplomats and high-ranking officials who eagerly awaited OSCE CiO Steinmeier's inaugural speech. Among them was Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlov Klimkin, who - through his attendance - underscored the important role of the OSCE in the management of the Ukraine crisis. Indeed, one could sense that a "political heavyweight" was taking over the Chairmanship, as Germany is "by far the most powerful OSCE participating State that has ever held the presidency of the organization". In this article, it will be argued that Germany should use its OSCE Chairmanship to offset the weaknesses of the EU and NATO in dealing with the Ukraine crisis. In its capacity as OSCE Chair, Germany presides over an organization with a broad membership and in which Russia is an equal partner. Germany can thus deal with Moscow in a more balanced way, not overshadowed by EU sanctions or military rhetoric. This may open new possibilities to ease tensions.

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The 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade: An Anniversary without Celebration
Photo: MFA Serbia
17 December 2015 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

The 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade: An Anniversary without Celebration

On 3 and 4 December 2015, the yearly OSCE Ministerial Council (MC) meeting took place in Belgrade, Serbia. The MC meeting, which is attended by foreign ministers or their representatives of the 57 OSCE participating States, provides an opportunity to discuss the Organization's yearly achievements and gives overall guidance and impetus for future work. The MC is mandated to take decisions on any topic relevant to the work of the OSCE. This year's meeting in Belgrade was attended by 42 foreign ministers. The meeting was characterized by entrenched positions and it illustrated the distrust and deep divide among participating States. The Belgrade MC adopted only 5 declarations, among them on combating violent extremism and radicalization and on combating illicit drug trafficking. The fact that states were able to create consensus only on such a small number of declarations is due to the divergent views participating States hold on the root causes of the Ukraine conflict. The deep divide that this conflict has created among participating States of the OSCE had a negative influence on negotiations. In addition, a number of bilateral conflicts between states negatively influenced and overshadowed the negotiation process. In fact, a small number of states allowed their differences over other conflicts take a direct influence on the OSCE negotiation process. 

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