Germany vows to restore peace, trust to Europe as new chair of OSCE

Germany is ready to steer its neighbours through turbulent times, the country's foreign minister said on Friday, as it takes the chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

"We are faced with perhaps the most serious threat to peace and security in Europe since the end of the Cold War," Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

The minister named resolving the conflict in Ukraine as a major priority for the organization.

Steinmeier vowed to restore "the lost trust in Europe." Only then, he said, would it be possible to "once again create a stable security order in Europe."

On Thursday, OSCE monitors in eastern Ukraine noted that both sides had violated a ceasefire agreement struck by the Russian and Ukrainian presidents earlier in 2015.

The United Nations estimates that more than 8,000 people have died in the conflict, which broke out after the ousting of former president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. Russia subsequently annexed Ukraine's southern Crimea region and is supporting a pro-Russian separatist rebellion.

All European states are members of the OSCE, the world's largest intergovernmental security organization, alongside the United States, Canada, former members of the Soviet Union and Mongolia.

It has origins in the 1975 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, which sought to restore peace to the continent during the Cold War.

Last update: Sun, 03/01/2016 - 13:03
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