The German Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Frank-Walter Steinmeier has travelled to Vienna today (14 January) to present the German Chairmanship’s programme at the OSCE Permanent Council. Steinmeier will also be meeting the heads of the OSCE missions and the heads of the OSCE’s independent institutions (the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ODIHR, and the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, RFoM). Political talks with Austria’s Federal President Heinz Fischer are also scheduled.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on 13 January:
The attack in Istanbul, the crises in the Middle East and the conflict in eastern Ukraine show that Germany has assumed the OSCE Chairmanship in turbulent times. I am convinced that, now more than ever, we need the OSCE as a forum for dialogue and for building trust. Only by working together and joining forces will we be able to bring about more security throughout the OSCE area in the long term. We should use all available forums for exchange and understanding in order to do this – and especially the OSCE.
Under Germany’s Chairmanship, we intend to strengthen the OSCE’s capabilities throughout the conflict cycle – from early warning to conflict prevention, from crisis management to post‑conflict peacebuilding. The adoption of the OSCE budget in the final days of 2015 has lent us momentum for this. Our focus is on the OSCE’s work in Ukraine and on strengthening the monitoring mission. We will also be committed to resolving the conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Transdniestria and the Southern Caucasus and will help to strengthen the important work of the OSCE field missions.
Moreover, the events of recent days have issued another painful reminder to us that international terrorism poses a threat to all OSCE countries and beyond. We will therefore increase our resolve to work together to tackle terrorism at all levels. To this end, the OSCE is already active in many areas, and we have to show determination in maintaining this commitment. In setting these priorities, we are also sending an important signal with regard to the OSCE’s ability to act.