On Tuesday evening (12 April), Foreign Minister Steinmeier spoke about the challenges and conflicts currently facing the OSCE area at a meeting in Berlin with the Serbian and Austrian Foreign Ministers, Ivica Dačić and Sebastian Kurz, as well as OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier. The discussions focused particularly on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the situation in Ukraine. Germany holds the Chairmanship of the OSCE this year.
Nagorno-Karabakh – negotiation mechanism required to improve security
Serbia chaired the OSCE last year, and Austria is set to take over in 2017; the three countries together are known as the OSCE Troika. The talks at the German Foreign Minister’s guest house in the Tegel district of Berlin concentrated on current conflicts such as that of Nagorno-Karabakh. Steinmeier welcomed the ceasefire that had been achieved there after the most recent escalation of tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia. At the same time, however, he made it clear that the status quo did not ensure security for the weeks and months to come. The negotiating mechanism, he said, must now be got back on track.
Ukraine – hope that a government will be formed soon
Ukraine was also on the agenda. Steinmeier voiced the hope “that a new prime minister will be elected and a new government formed soon”. Only then, he went on, could the negotiating process on the future of eastern Ukraine continue. As Steinmeier put it, the priority now was to return to the political process. The OSCE was at pains to re‑inject momentum into the faltering process, he said, above all with regard to the drafting of legislation to govern local elections.
Other topics under discussion were counter-terrorism within the OCSE area and prevention of radicalisation. A joint declaration issued by the OSCE Troika on their Berlin meeting is available here:
Steinmeier welcomes pledges of assistance for Libyan Government
Speaking on the margins of the meeting, Foreign Minister Steinmeier also touched on the situation in Libya and the outcome of the Libya donor conference held in Tunis on Tuesday (12 April). He said the Libyan government of national unity had “successfully completed its first key steps to consolidate its position”. Nonetheless, he continued, “there is still an arduous path ahead before Libya is again a fully functioning state.” He therefore underlined the importance of “concrete support” from the international community at the donor conference in Tunis. Steinmeier welcomed the pledges of assistance for the Libyan Government:
It will also be crucial for the success of the political process that the situation of the people in Libya now improves quickly and tangibly, that the water and power supplies work again and that hospitals have pharmaceuticals once more. I am glad that those present at the meeting made pledges amounting to more than 50% of the financing of the stabilisation fund which we proposed along with the UN.