Germany is assuming the Chairmanship of the OSCE 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.
Germans in particular owe much to the OSCE and to the CSCE process. This process 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 basis and guidance for finding peaceful solutions to the ever growing number of serious security threats we are facing today.
For our OSCE Chairmanship, we have set ourselves ambitious tasks: 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 the trust in Europe 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.
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 de-escalation. We must continue on that path.
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 the 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, inside and among all participating States.
Assuming the OSCE Chairmanship is not an easy task. Having other committed OSCE members at 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 States and partners as we are setting sail as the new OSCE Chair with clear bearings: to renew dialogue, rebuild trust and restore security.