OSCE Conference in Hamburg

Opening statement of FM Frank Walter Steinmeier (video)

Little optimism is heard from the statements of the 57 foreign ministers taking part in the conference in Hamburg. the atmosphere is as grey as the weather, Hans Walter Steinmeier remarked in his openng statements to the press.

The Ukraine conflict is the overwhelming topic, connected with further conflicts in other regions, as there are South Ossetia, Abchasia, Transnistria and Karabakh. And the Syria war was overshadowing the whole conference. More than 50 Foreign Minister out of 57 made clear statements that the conflict in Ukraine is a great threat to the security in Europe.

“The aggression in Ukraine undermines the European security structure” the Romanian representative stated. The Bulgarian representatives said just the same, and he demanded that there should be free access for the OSCE mission SMM, also to the part of Ukraine that are blocked off.

The Luxemburg Foreign Minister, same as many others, thanked Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his team for their great engagement in a “very difficult year.” “We are confronted with an increasing unstable site” here in Europe.

“We need to built trust and security” the Polish FM said, referring especially to the reginin Donbas. He appreciated the SMM and great efforts. The OSZE should become more committed. It would need a structured dialogue. There was an urgent need to modernize the Vienna document.

The Hungarian FM stated that we are living  “in a quickly changing wolrd”, “living in a nw world order”, adding that it was already ready or “maybe still under construction”. Teh political and economic orders was changing, he remarked. Europe and Central Aisa should cooperate effectively. This would be to the mutual benefit. The would be a need to effectively fight IS, there was a need to protect Ch ristians, there was need to face and distribute migration, reforms were needed, and the same time history and heritage needed to be protected.

The FM of Spain streessed that OSCE needs to cooperate closely. “We must stand united to face global threats” and “OSCE is a unique platform”. FM of Georgia stressed the importance of OSZE to moderate conflicts, reminding of the conflicts in Abchasia and South Ossetia, and he was thanking the Euro-Altantic partners.

The Turkish FM spoke about Turkey´s internal situation and the coup in summer, thanking for support from some of the members. “There is no good terrorist.” he stated, “We are taking the neccessary measures now.” Also, the situtation of the Tartars on Crimea was worrying. The “situstion has never been so alert as now, especially in Western Europe”.

Swiss FM continued on the sitution in Europe: “Silently, it has deteriorated further”, and it was “undermining our decurity”. Greek FM was calling for more confidence and trust. A huge huge worry was the conflict in Ukriane. But not only there, “Wir kämpfen gegen Terrorismus”  – remarkable, he spoke in fluent German! – He called for an organization such as the OSCE for Neareast and Eastern Mediterrenean. Concerning the refugees,  there had to be more talk about the causes, such as the Irak war and the war in Syria. Also, he asekd for discussions instead of redaing statements in the session.

Azerbaijan FM Mammadyarow did not mention the Ukraine conflict, but made the often heard statement about the Karabakh conflict that had been inflamed again in the current year.Moldova FM called for a reset of the talk on the Transnistria conflict. He was in favor of new arm control talks, ending his short speech speaking German!

Summing up all the conflicts, it was no surprise that the press conference with Foreign Minister Lavrov of Russia was of great interest. While his first press meeting was for Russian journalists only, the second  was open to all international media. While Lavrov was explaining the conflicts as Russia sees them, the split between one side and the other became even more clear, and no end in sight. On the so called “family photo” he did not want to be present (see below).

Bloc thinking was something he knew only from history books, Austrian Foreign Minister and follower as head of OSCE Sebastian Kurz stated, but now he could see it happen today, and he added: It should be put back to the history books!


#Russland und wie es die Welt sieht. Außenminister #Lawrow auf dem #OSZE Gipfel in Hamburg @F


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