The OSCE is the best chance for security in Europe

Press release, 11.07.2017

"Switzerland considers the OSCE to be the best chance for security in Europe," said Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), on Tuesday at the opening of the OSCE Informal Ministerial Meeting in Mauerbach on the outskirts of Vienna. In view of the precariousness of situation on the ground, Mr Burkhalter, who recently travelled to Ukraine, also stressed how important it is for the OSCE to continue its security and humanitarian aid efforts in Ukraine.

The Foreign Ministers of the OSCE gather all together on the grass for a group photography
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter participates in the Plenary session of the informal meeting of Foreign Ministers of the OSCE.

He called on the members of the OSCE "to provide financial and political support for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, which demonstrates the organisation's ability to make a difference on the ground." He also urged the belligerents to withdraw their heavy weaponry, as this would help to significantly reduce the number of victims.

Switzerland also urged OSCE members to strengthen the spirit of compromise that has made the OSCE a strong and widely recognised organisation. "The OSCE should  be used as much as possible as a platform for dialogue and action," said Mr Burkhalter when he took the floor for the second time during a round table to assess the OSCE's structured dialogue process.

Launched last year at the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Hamburg, the structured dialogue process aims to further explore the main political-military issues pertaining to the security of the European continent. "Switzerland is convinced that dialogue and common action are the driving forces for more effective European security," said Mr Burkhalter, noting that initial discussions led to a better identification and understanding of security threats in Europe.

Mr Burkhalter called for the long-term continuation of this dialogue at the highest level and urged OSCE members to also take concrete steps to strengthen security in Europe. "Switzerland is convinced that relaunching discussions on conventional arms control would potentially be an important step towards greater stability in Europe," concluded Mr Burkhalter.

Further information:

Speech by the Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter at the Plenary session
Speech by the Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter on the occasion of the informal meeting of Foreign Ministers of the OSCE (Roundtable Discussion on the Structured Dialogue in the OSCE)

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs