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Germany Takes Over OSCE Chairmanship In 2016

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Strengthening dialogue, trust and security in the OSCE region at the heart of German Chairmanship in 2016

BERLIN,- As it takes over the rotating OSCE chairmanship in 2016, Germany’s top priorities will be rebuilding trust among participating States and maintaining efforts for achieving a political solution to the conflict in and around Ukraine, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier said today.

The new Chairperson-in-Office stressed that “Germany is assuming its new role in turbulent times. Facing what may be the most serious crisis to peace and security in Europe since the end of the Cold War, Germany stands ready to take on this responsibility.” 

We have set ambitious tasks for ourselves during our OSCE Chairmanship: it is important to me that we work hard to renew dialogue – while not shying away from calling breaches of OSCE principles and international law by their name. We have to do what is in our power to rebuild, within Europe, the trust that has been lost. Only on the basis of trust will we once again be able to achieve a stable security order in Europe. I will gladly put my efforts as Chairperson-in-Office behind this goal”, said Steinmeier.

Achieving a political solution to the conflict in and around Ukraine will continue to be a top priority in 2016. For the last two years we have seen that the OSCE can provide essential instruments for promoting de-escalation and dialogue. We must continue on that path. Germany will contribute its full determination and capacity to this endeavor”, he added.

The German Chairmanship is also committed to working towards solving the protracted conflicts in the OSCE region, making best use of the OSCE’s current negotiating formats and mechanisms. In that respect, the promotion of specific confidence-building measures and events, as well as the active work of the Chairperson-in-Office’s Special Representatives will be crucial.

The new Chairperson-in-Office announced that in 2016, Germany will organize a series of events aimed at facilitating co-operation in the many different fields of OSCE work and action, to lead up to the Ministerial Council in Hamburg in December”. “This includes advancing joint answers to transnational threats, such as international terrorism and radicalization, continuing the dialogue on arms control and confidence building measures, and promoting sustainable connectivity and good governance. In the field of human rights, we will pay particular attention to safeguarding commitments within the OSCE area and to improving their implementation. In these times of challenges and fundamental changes to our societies, we should give particular attention to tolerance and non-discrimination, within and among all participating States”, said Steinmeier.

Germans in particular owe much to the OSCE and to the CSCE process, which stands for a policy of détente between East and West. We vividly remember its substantial contribution to overcoming the Cold War and to the re-unification of Germany and Europe. I firmly believe that the OSCE principles, commitments and values set out jointly by East and West in the past, still provide the basis and guidance for finding peaceful solutions to the ever-growing number of serious security threats we are facing today”, he said.

The German Chairmanship will support the OSCE Institutions and field operations in assisting participating States to ensure implementation of the OSCE principles and commitments.

Assuming the OSCE Chairmanship is not an easy task. Having other, committed OSCE participating States by our side, especially our Troika partners Serbia and Austria, is of great importance to us. I look forward to working and cooperating with all OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation, as well as with the OSCE executive structures, as we set sail with clear bearings: to renew dialogue, rebuild trust and restore security”, concluded Steinmeier.

The Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office will present Germany’s priorities to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on 14 January. 

{Source: Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe}

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[photo credits-featured image: By OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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