OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Austria's Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, highlighted three key challenges facing the Organization and its participating States as Austria took over as the 2017 OSCE Chairmanship: deplorable and complex crises and conflicts in the OSCE area, a fundamental lack of mutual trust and confidence, and an alarming phenomenon of growing radicalization and violent extremism, especially among young people, OSCE said in a press release.
"We must vigorously engage and address this situation. The OSCE is the right platform to do so," said Kurz.
"It is my firm belief that a strong OSCE is the basis for a secure Europe – particularly in these agitated times. Austria stands ready to take responsibility and chair the Organization for a second time within two decades," Kurz added.
Read alsoAustrian Foreign Minister to visit Donbas warzonePointing to the OSCE's experience as a facilitator, mediator and connector for a common space of 1.2 billion people, the Chairperson-in-Office emphasized that the organization can provide all necessary tools for promoting de-escalation and enabling sustainable political solutions to the conflicts in the OSCE area, not least the conflict in and around Ukraine.
Kurz stressed that, to respond effectively to current challenges and threats to our common security, the OSCE's capabilities must be upgraded and its approaches in all three dimensions of security must be updated. "This concerns both the conflicts in the OSCE area and the threat from transnational radicalization. Open and constructive dialogue, credible confidence-building measures as well as reliable co-operation must be our common ground."
"We must do whatever it takes to prevent further escalation of armed confrontation, including working through the established formats to peacefully resolve the protracted conflicts in the OSCE region. The safety and security of the affected populations must be a priority. This is achievable only if we all work together and take an inclusive approach," said Kurz.