Foreign Minister Steinmeier at the Munich Security Conference

The war in Syria, failed governance in Libya and the outstanding issues of the Minsk Agreement were three of the main topics on the agenda of the 52nd Munich Security Conference. Munich Security Conference Enlarge image Munich Security Conference (© Thomas Trutschel/ Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who welcomed the audience both in his capacity as German Foreign Minister and as OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, highlighted the importance of an institution like the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in these “turbulent times”. In this context, he met Heads of State and Government and colleagues to discuss the crises and conflicts currently faced by Europe and its neighbourhood

With regard to the conflict in and around Ukraine and the implementation of the Minsk Agreement, a meeting took place in the Normandy format on the morning of Saturday, 13 February, at which Foreign Minister Steinmeier and his French counterpart met their Russian and Ukrainian colleagues. Munich Security Conference Enlarge image Munich Security Conference (© Thomas Trutschel/

It was agreed that the Trilateral Contact Group and the OSCE will present concrete suggestions on improved adherence to the ceasefire, preparations for local elections in eastern Ukraine and the security for these elections by the next Normandy format meeting. The German Foreign Minister warned against reducing efforts to urge the conflicting parties to take further steps. “Minsk remains the road map and the line of approach,” he said

In the context of the conference, Steinmeier took the time to hold confidential talks with Pavlo Klimkin, Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry, his colleagues from Ukraine, Russia and the United States.

Bilateral Talks and Side-Events

He also took the opportunity of the conference to meet the President of Azerbaijan, with whom he discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and energy policy issues. His agenda also included a meeting with the Special Representative of the Federal Government for the OSCE Chairmanship, Gernot Erler, and the Foreign Minister of Belarus. Munich Security Conference Enlarge image Munich Security Conference (© Thomas Trutschel/

During the Munich Security Conference, numerous events took place on a range of other foreign and security policy issues, including disarmament, cyber-security and protection against epidemics. One of these side events was dedicated to the Final Report by the Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project. The group’s Final Report under the chairmanship of Wolfgang Ischinger was also discussed by the OSCE Troika Foreign Ministers at the last OSCE Ministerial Council in December 2015. Gernot Erler, Germany’s Special Representative for the OSCE Chairmanship, also attended the assembly of the Panel on the margins of the Munich Security Conference on Sunday morning (14 February), where he said: “The Panel of Eminent Persons recognised the need to revive dialogue. The Chairmanship will launch think-tank network projects to make recommendations to civil societies.”