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Security and Human Rights Monitor


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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In Switzerland’s Shadow: Summing up Serbia's 2015 OSCE Chairmanship
Photo: MFA Serbia
11 December 2015 - Christian Nünlist* - 0

In Switzerland’s Shadow: Summing up Serbia's 2015 OSCE Chairmanship

The OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, held in Belgrade from 3 to 4 December 2015, was the final highlight of the Serbian OSCE Chairmanship of 2015. With the fading Serbian OSCE presidency, the direct co-responsibility of Swiss diplomacy for the OSCE ends as well. In this blog entry, Christian Nünlist from the Center for Security Studies at the ETH Zurich argues that Serbia deliberately decided against taking courageous political steps, and rather concentrated on maintaining the status quo of OSCE activities that Switzerland had introduced in 2014.

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“Soldiering Through”: A Preliminary Assessment of Serbia’s OSCE Chairmanship
Photo: OSCE/Jonathan Perfect
2 December 2015 - Marko Savković* - 0

“Soldiering Through”: A Preliminary Assessment of Serbia’s OSCE Chairmanship

When in December 2011 Serbia – together with Switzerland – put forward its candidacy for the OSCE Chairmanship, it was seeking wider international affirmation and influence. Belgrade wanted to prove itself as capable of sustaining a serious, committed service to European security, and also hoped to bolster its chances for EU membership. The fact that 2015 presented an important milestone – 40 years since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act – was not without significance.

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OSCE receives Ewald von Kleist Award at Munich Security Conference
Photo: Mueller/MSC
9 February 2015 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

OSCE receives Ewald von Kleist Award at Munich Security Conference

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.

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Between the EU and Russia: Opportunity or Dilemma for Serbia’s OSCE Chairmanship?
Photo: OSCE/Micky Kroell
22 January 2015 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 2

Between the EU and Russia: Opportunity or Dilemma for Serbia’s OSCE Chairmanship?

On 15 January, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić outlined the priorities of the 2015 Serbian OSCE Chairmanship at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna. Foreign Minister Dačić stressed that the main priority of the Serbian Chair would be to continue supporting a peaceful resolution of the crisis in and around Ukraine. In this context, he expressed support for the work of the Trilateral Contact Group, the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and their respective roles in helping to implement the Minsk protocols as well as the peace plan for the east of Ukraine. Yet, the success of Serbia's OSCE Chairmanship will very much depend on how it will reconcile its relations with the EU and Russia.

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OSCE helps broker ceasefire agreement and expands the activities of the Special Monitoring Mission on the ground in Ukraine
Photo: OSCE/Evgeniy Maloletka
10 September 2014 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

OSCE helps broker ceasefire agreement and expands the activities of the Special Monitoring Mission on the ground in Ukraine

On 5 September a ceasefire agreement was signed in Minsk to help resolve the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The agreement was negotiated within the context of the so-called Trilateral Contact Group that includes senior representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. The Trilateral Contact Group has held several meetings in the course of the last months, including with representatives of the separatists in eastern Ukraine. The meetings were held in Ukraine but also in Minsk, as a courtesy of the Belarusian leadership. Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine describes in this short interview how the SMM will expand and intensify its activities in order to monitor this ceasefire agreement and how it will report possible violations of it. As defined in the SMM's mandate, the mission "may expand by a total of up to 400 additional monitors." The interview was conducted by Stephanie Liechtenstein, Website Editor of Security and Human Rights on 9 September 2014. (See also our longer interview with Mr. Hug that was conducted on 2 September 2014).

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