A Roundtable Debate with Ambassador Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the OSCE, on Ukraine
On Wednesday April 16, the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) hosted a working lunch with Ambassador Lamberto Zannier, secretary general of the OSCE. The discussion that followed provided a flavor of the current climate and enormous challenges still ahead in Ukraine. Ambassador Zannier also gave more details about ongoing and planned actions taken by the OSCE to address the situation, such as monitoring missions and information campaigns.
Participants addressed the importance of seeking a diplomatic agreement among the international parties involved, but also highlighted the importance of developing strategies internally in Ukraine. Indeed, the tensions between Ukrainians loyal to the authority of Kiev, pro-Russian protesters, and even citizens from a third ethnicity like the Crimean Tatars, make for a volatile mix across the country.
Part of the discussion also addressed how Russian actions are changing the rules of the game in the current world order, the future of established treaties like the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, and how these developments are affecting the OSCE. Participants noted that the OSCE indeed offers a unique bridge between the West and Eurasia, and all agreed that efforts need to be made to prevent the rise of two competing blocks within the organization.
Finally, participants also insisted on the importance of involving the civil society in the Ukrainian Presidential elections at the end of May. The domestic institutions must play a fundamental role, and parliamentary debate must be encouraged. The OSCE and its member states can provide external support, but a transparent and democratic process must be enforced from within.
Related publications to this event include:
Is a Thaw Possible in Frosty Ukraine? by Michał Romanowski
Russia's Crimea Annexation Widens Syria Options by Hassan Mneimneh
What is at Stake in Ukraine? by Daniela Schwarzer , Constanze Stelzenmueller