: DW: Is the OSCE still relevant?

17:41 May. 4, 2016

DW: Is the OSCE still relevant?

The newly-appointed United Nations chief in Kosovo, Italian diplomat, Lamberto Zannier during a press conference in Kosovo's capital Pristina, Friday, June 20, 2008.(AP Images)

OSCE Secretary General discusses the most important problems organisation faces today

On this week's Conflict Zone, Lamberto Zannier, OSCE Secretary General, discusses how his organization can maintain relevance in a world with aggressive states, brutal dictators and a troubling political landscape.

The Cold War is slowly coming back to life, with the conflict in Ukraine simmering, Russia buzzing American warships in the Baltic and Soviet-era bombers lurking near European airspace.

"Geopolitics are back," Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), said on DW's Conflict Zone with Michel Friedman.

"We see competition, we see confrontation, we see lack of confidence in Europe. We also see a problem of lack of reconciliation after the end of the Cold War."

Read also OSCE patrol comes under fire as Russian-backed separatist forces attempt to intimidate mission

Zannier is stuck in the middle, trying to be impossibly diplomatic. He is tasked with confronting human rights abuses and military aggression while staying on the good side of 57 countries that make up the largest intergovernmental organization in the world, including Russia, Ukraine, the United States and all 28 EU member states.

The question is, can an organization with such a broad mandate be successful at keeping peace, strengthening democracy and bridging divides?

Is the OSCE effective in Ukraine?

On April 28, the OSCE warned of a "blatant disregard" of peace agreements in Ukraine. With the conflict in eastern Ukraine ongoing since the Minsk agreement was signed in September 2014, the organization's warning is sounding more and more like a broken record.

Read also OSCE Disgrace: Monitors spotted at Russian-backed separatist wedding

"It is difficult for the international community - and this is not only the OSCE - to stop a conflict of this magnitude," Zannier said on Conflict Zone, defending the OSCE's response to the crisis.

The OSCE has more than 700 monitors on the ground but they often have difficulty even observing effectively. Out of 37 land crossing points between Russia and Ukraine, OSCE observers are allowed at just two.

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