In view of the latest international crises, Maas has called for greater investments in confidence-building and dialogue. “Without trust that fundamental rules will be upheld, Europe’s security will be at risk,” he said on Thursday (6 December) before his flight to Milan, where the Foreign Ministers of the Organization for Security and Co operation in Europe (OSCE) are meeting.
Talks with Lavrov and Klimkin
The OSCE is one of the most important forums for mediating in conflicts between East and West. “More than almost any other organisation, the OSCE stands for confidence-building and dialogue,” Maas underlined. Maas will meet both his Ukrainian counterpart, Pavlo Klimkin, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for talks in Milan.
Clear expectations of Russia – “the Ukrainian sailors must be released”
Following the incident in the Kerch Strait, the conflict on Russia’s intervention in Ukraine will be the main topic at the OSCE Ministerial Council. Maas recently welcomed the fact that the Sea of Azov is now also open to Ukrainian vessels once again. However, further steps are needed to de escalate the situation. The German Government has clear expectations of Russia that the detained Ukrainian sailors will be released without delay.
“Arms control must become a key component of diplomacy once again”
At the conference in Milan, Maas will also urge his counterparts to launch a new international discussion on arms control. “If we want to preserve peace and stability in Europe, arms control must become a key component of our diplomacy once again,” Maas said. After Russia’s violations of its obligations under the INF Treaty, there is a risk that the treaty – one of the most important disarmament agreements in the world – could soon come to an end.