OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers Meets in Switzerland

World | December 4, 2014, Thursday // 13:41|  views

Delegates listen to speeches in the plenary hall during the opening session of the 21st Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council at the Basel Exhibition Center, in Basel, Switzerland. Photo: EPA

The annual Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) takes place on 4 and 5 December in the Swiss city of Basel.

The Ministerial Council brings together foreign ministers and delegations from the 57 participating states of the OSCE.

It is expected that a meeting will take place between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry, in which the two are to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Lavrov is also to meet with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
The Russian Foreign Minister already held a meeting with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Wednesday.

The Ministerial Council is the central decision-making and governing body of the OSCE.

It usually takes place towards the end of the year in the country that is holding the rotating chairmanship of the OSCE.

This year the opening statement was made by the Chairperson-in-Office Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, in which he said it was the OSCE's responsibility to ensure that 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall Europe is not divided again.

The Ministerial Council provides opportunity for representatives of the 57 participating states and 11 partner countries to engage in high-level bilateral and multilateral talks.

This year around 20 draft declarations are expected to be debated at the 21st Ministerial Council in Basel.

The actions taken by the OSCE in response to the crisis in Ukraine, including the recently brokered Luhansk ceasefire agreement, will be discussed at this year's Ministerial Council.

Bulgaria is represented by its Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov.

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Tags: OSCE, Ministerial Council, Ukraine, Sergey Lavrov, John Kerry, Federica Mogherini, Frank-Walter Steinmeier


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