Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter has called for renewed efforts at defusing the conflict in Ukraine and re-consolidating European security.
In a final statement as chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Burkhalter said the Ukraine crisis, notably Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula, jeopardised the aim of a “free, democratic, common and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok”.
He added that the conflict also complicated efforts at finding peaceful solutions to protracted crises in the OSCE area.
Burkhalter urged all OSCE states to provide the security organisation with the necessary financial and political support for 2015, including additional funding for the special monitoring mission to Ukraine.
He pledged Switzerland’s continuing commitment for the OSCE as part of a cooperation agreement with Serbia and Germany which will take over at the helm in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Switzerland led the 57-nation organisation in 2014 and also in 1996. The Vienna-based OSCE covers conflict prevention, economic development and the sustainable use of natural resources as well as the promotion of fundamental freedoms.
Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch