Steinmeier at UN Security Council and US Helsinki Commission
Foreign Minister and Chairperson-in-Office Frank-Walter Steinmeier crossed the Atlantic Ocean for a three day visit from 28 February to 1 March. He held political talks in New York and Washington, focusing on close bilateral coordination of urgent foreign policy issues with US Secretary of State John Kerry and the German OSCE Chairmanship, among others. In this context, Steinmeier presented the OSCE Chairmanship Programme to the UN Security Council (New York, 29 February) and engaged in discussions with the US Helsinki Commission in Washington (1 March).
Enlarge image CiO Steinmeier speaking during his briefing of the UN Security Council on the OSCE Chairmanship 2016 priorities (© Gottschalk/photothek.de ) As well as spotlighting current international issues, the aim of the trip was to present the priorities of the German OSCE Chairmanship. To this end, the OSCE Chairperson–in-Office traditionally attends the United Nations Security Council. Speaking to the press after the meeting, Steinmeier stated that the main focus of his visit to this important panel was the situation in the Ukraine conflict. Steinmeier also said that he had proposed intensifying relations between the OSCE and the United Nations: “In difficult and turbulent times especially, we need strong multilateral organisations as platforms for dialogue, as instruments for conflict resolution and as a voice for our values and principles – the OSCE and the United Nations are such organisations.”
Enlarge image Steinmeier heading to the U.S. Helsinki Commission (© Gottschalk/photothek.de) The following day, 1 March 2016, the German Foreign Minister explained the German Chairmanship Programme to the Helsinki Commission – formally entitled “Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe” – and fielded questions from Commission members. Steinmeier pointed out that the third Dimension in particular, the strengthening of human rights, is a priority of German commitment. He also explicitly mentioned the fight against racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism as well as gender issues.
The US Helsinki Commission is an independent institution established in 1976, which has the task of monitoring the United States’ adherence to OSCE principles. It includes representatives of both parliament chambers as well as one representative each from the Department of State, the Department of Defense and the Department of Commerce.