All Articles containing the tag: UKRAINE CRISIS

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Security and Human Rights Monitor


22 December 2016 - Christian Nünlist and Wolfgang Zellner* - 0

A Code of Conduct for Facilitating a Return to Dialogue: New Ideas for Strengthening European Security

The 2016 German OSCE Chairmanship encouraged a project of the OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions to follow up on the recommendations of the Panel of Eminent Persons (PEP). The final report of the PEP ("Back to Diplomacy") had suggested in late 2015 to "consider a research project on the different narratives, on our common history, bringing together scholar from different countries and aiming to set out more systematically our divergent views of the past and how and why they developed".

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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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New Window of Opportunity in the Transdniestrian Settlement Process
Photo: OSCE
5 August 2016 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

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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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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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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