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
Author: 

More from Europe

Italy's Renzi concedes referendum defeat, announces resignation

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has conceded defeat on a referendum battle to approve constitutional reforms and...

After Renzi - who could be Italy's next prime minister?

Italian President Sergio Mattarella is due to appoint a new prime minister after Matteo Renzi said he would resign...

Renzi set for crushing referendum defeat, under pressure to resign

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi looked likely Sunday to make good on a promise to resign after early data...

Italian voters reject Renzi's constitutional reforms, exit polls show

Italians have rejected reforms proposed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, exit polls from a referendum show.

EU leaders relieved as Austrian far-right candidate loses presidency

Pro-European and left-leaning politician Alexander Van der Bellen soundly defeated his far-right rival for Austria's...