Germany to seek OSCE chairmanship in 2016

1st October 2014, Comments 0 comments

Germany will in 2016 seek to take over the rotating chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which acts as observer and mediator in the Ukraine crisis, Berlin said Wednesday.

The candidacy announcement comes as Europe's biggest economy also seeks a greater role in helping tackle global crises. Germany has been at the forefront of EU efforts to handle the East-West standoff with Russia over Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a frequent interlocutor with Moscow and Kiev amid the Ukraine conflict, said "the OSCE has proven in the Ukraine crisis how important it is for a pan-European peace order".

"It is in our own best interests to strengthen the OSCE as a forum for dialogue, as a bridge between East and West, as an operational instrument of European crisis prevention and as an active stakeholder.

"This assumes that the member states are committed to be engaged and to take on responsibility," he added in a statement. "We support this with our willingness to assume the chairmanship in 2016."

The 57-member OSCE, which was founded under a different name during the Cold War in 1973, now has missions in 15 countries including the republics of the former Yugoslavia where it monitors security, democratisation and human rights.

Switzerland currently holds the rotating chairmanship, to be succeeded by Serbia in 2015. If Germany is accepted at a ceremony later this year in Basel, it would next year join the "troika" of past, current and future OSCE chairs.

© 2014 AFP

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