Switzerland concludes Chairmanship of OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation
Bern, 11.04.2019 - On 10 April 2019, Switzerland concluded its Chairmanship of the OSCE's Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC). Against the backdrop of political tensions in the OSCE region, the Chairmanship held weekly security dialogues on matters of politico-military security and stability in Europe since the beginning of the year. During its tenure, Switzerland contributed as a mediator to strengthening the multilateral dialogue on security policy and politico-military cooperation.
In the ten security dialogues held since it assumed the Chairmanship on 16 January 2019, Switzerland's overarching goal was to create favourable conditions for more effective implementation of existing OSCE confidence- and security-building instruments in the OSCE region. To this end, the Swiss Chairmanship put forward constructive ideas to address both matters of current political interest and more traditional aspects of the OSCE's politico-military dimension. It proposed, for example, possible ways of regulating private military and security companies. In the security dialogue on aspects of modern warfare, it addressed concerns regarding compliance with international law and the protection of civilians. The Swiss Chairmanship also furthered a common understanding of international and national norms governing the proliferation of small arms and the stockpiling of conventional ammunition.
In view of the current crisis of confidence in the OSCE, the Swiss Chairmanship was faced with the challenge of making limited but nonetheless concrete progress in an environment marked by deadlock. Specifically, it sought to reinforce the 57 participating States' common understanding of the relevance of OSCE instruments and mechanisms. This objective was achieved in so far as several OSCE participating States declared their willingness to make more effective use of existing confidence- and security-building instruments and to support initiatives in this regard. By enlisting national and international expertise from the OSCE area and beyond, Switzerland was also able to strengthen the culture of dialogue in this decision-making forum. The Swiss Chairmanship also employed procedural mechanisms, for example a restructuring of existing processes with the aim of strengthening the FSC's operational dynamics.
With its Chairmanship – and the important follow-up work it will carry out – Switzerland brings tangible added value to the dialogue on European security policy and underscores its engagement in the OSCE as a proactive mediator. It does this in line with the guiding principle of its Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2014, which focused on "creating a security community for the benefit of everyone".
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has been working closely with the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport for the preparation and follow-up of Switzerland's Chairmanship of the FSC. The opening ceremony of the Swiss Chairmanship was hosted by FDFA State Secretary Pascale Baeriswyl on 16 January and the closing ceremony on 10 April by Major General Claude Meier, Chief of Staff of the Swiss Armed Forces. Switzerland's Chairmanship will be assumed by Tajikistan in May 2019 in accordance with the FSC principle of rotation.
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