First ex-Soviet joins top brass of Cold War security body
The OSCE on Friday appointed for the first time a diplomat from a former Soviet state to a leadership position of the body originally established during the Cold War to foster relations between the East and the West.
he OSCE on Friday appointed for the first time a diplomat from a former Soviet state to a leadership position of the body originally established during the Cold War to foster relations between the East and the West.
he appointment of the Kazakh diplomat, Kairat Abdrakhmanov, was part of a compromise with former Soviet states, which have long decried that a solely European leadership had made the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) biased against them.
Despite the Cold War having ended, the OSCE retains its international security role and is currently engaged in the diplomatic resolution of conflicts and crises, including in Nagorno-Karabakh and Belarus.
But it has also added roles such as monitoring elections, as well as reporting on human rights and press freedoms.
hose roles have caused tensions, with some members having called the OSCE’s criticism of their human rights records “excessive”.
In July, those tensions resulted in an impasse and and the body’s top officials were not reappointed, leaving the organisation without leadership.
he compromise will also see German diplomat Helga Schmid, a key figure in the Iran nuclear talks, leave the EU’s combined foreign and defence ministry to become the OSCE’s secretary general.
An Italian and a Portugese diplomat will take the remaining two top posts.
hough it has lost influence since the Cold War, experts have said that the OSCE’s role has been strengthened in recent years, and point to the opportunities it holds as the largest regional security organisation in the world comprised of 57 members states.
While NATO has been weakened after four years of US isolationism under President Donald Trump, this year saw violent conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and the uprising in Belarus, in which the OSCE “has demonstrated its relevance and importance,” the US ambassador to the OSCE, James Gilmore, has said.