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Thomas Greminger Swiss diplomat wants to re-build confidence in OSCE

Greminger, a diplomat and expert on development aid and human rights, has his work cut out as new secretary general of the Vienna-based OSCE

(Keystone)

The new Swiss Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has called for reforms to overcome a crisis of confidence facing the world’s largest regional security body.

“There is a danger that the potential security risks will get out of control because the political instruments are no longer able to meet current security challenges,” Thomas Greminger told the Swiss News Agency.

He says he hopes OSCE field missions will find more acceptance among the 57 participating countries in Europe, North America and Asia.

Speaking to Swiss media, Greminger said more progress needed to be made in resolving the conflict in Ukraine, which began in 2013 while Switzerland held the rotating chairmanship of the OSCE. He also highlighted current tensions over the presence of NATO troops in the Baltic states and major military manoeuvres by the Russian armed forces.

He said it is crucial for the United States government recognise the potential of the OSCE beyond a promoter of human rights and for Washington to staff its mission to the Vienna-based organisation again.

Swiss recognition

The US has played a key role in boosting confidence in the OSCE’s cyber security measures, Greminger told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper.

He also pointed out that his selection and confirmation to the OSCE’s top job is a recognition of Switzerland’s foreign policy, notably efforts to mediate in Ukraine crisis and its traditional neutrality.

The 56-year-old, who was officially confirmed in his post by OSCE member countries on Tuesday, succeeds Italy’s Lamberto Zannier.

Greminger launched his diplomatic career with the Swiss foreign ministry in 1990 and is an expert on human rights and development. He also served a senior officer in the Swiss armed forces.

swissinfo.ch/urs


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