Germany will take over the one year rotating presidency of the OSCE on Friday as the 57-member organization attempts to ensure security in Europe. The situation in Ukraine is one topic likely to dominate the agenda.
The German presidency of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will be dominated by the conflict in Ukraine, the threat of terror in the heart of Europe and a renewed commitment to foster human rights, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday.
"The OSCE is needed in these turbulent times in Europe more than ever," Steinmeier told German news agency DPA on Thursday. "It is in our common interest to strengthen the OSCE as a platform for dialogue between East and West."
The OSCE has regained a new role in Europe with the conflict in Ukraine, where its mission is responsible for monitoring a fragile ceasefire between Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine and government forces and militias.
Germany has played a key role in the conflict, helping alongside France to broker a ceasefire and peace agreement under the framework of the Minsk agreements.
It has also been a major mediator maintaining dialogue between the West and Russia at a time of tense relations with the United States.
As Europe faces a renewed threat from "Islamic State" inspired terror, multi-lateral organizations such as the OSCE could play a role in developing dialogue and cooperation between member states.
Steinmeier will lay out his vision for the German presidency on January 14 at a meeting of the OSCE in Vienna.
In early December 2016 Hamburg will host an OSCE ministerial meeting.
Germany takes over the presidency from Serbia.
The OSCE includes all the countries in Europe, the US, Canada, the former Soviet states and Mongolia.
cw/rg (AFP, dpa)