Federal Councillor Burkhalter to attend the informal OSCE Foreign Ministers' meeting in Potsdam

Press release, 30.08.2016

At the invitation of Germany's Foreign Minister and Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter will travel to Potsdam to attend the informal OSCE Foreign Ministers' meeting on 1 September 2016. The future agenda for the OSCE will be discussed during two plenary sessions at the conference. Preparations will also be made for the Ministerial Council that will take place in Hamburg in December this year.

Topics to be discussed by the foreign ministers of some 40 OSCE Participating States at this Thursday's informal meeting will include the crisis in Ukraine, OSCE instruments for crisis and conflict management, the migration issue, the fight against terrorism, and economic cooperation as a confidence-building measure. These issues will be discussed at greater depth in two plenary sessions. Mr Burkhalter, who was the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in 2014, will give a keynote speech about the role of the OSCE in resolving conflicts and reducing international tensions in the OSCE area. During its OSCE Chairmanship, Switzerland was very active in introducing and implementing measures to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine, and initiated a discussion within the OSCE on the fundamental problems of European security.

The informal Foreign Ministers' meeting in Potsdam will also be used for preparing the OSCE Ministerial Council scheduled to take place in December in Hamburg. The Ministerial Council is the central decision-making and governing body of the OSCE at foreign-minister level. It is held every year in December and determines the organisation's future course. On 1 January 2017, Austria will take over the OSCE Chairmanship.


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