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Swiss diplomat Thomas Greminger might become new OSCE chief — source

June 27, 2017, 15:51 UTC+3 VIENNA

The term of office of incumbent OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier expires on June 30

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VIENNA, June 27. /TASS/.  Former Switzerland’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), Thomas Greminger, could become the new OSCE Secretary General, a well-informed source in the organization told TASS on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Annual Security Review Conference in Austria’s capital.

"Essentially, there are no objections to Greminger’s nomination," the official said. "However, the situation has been exacerbated by attempts of some OSCE member-countries to link the appointment of a new secretary general with work to fill other vacancies in important areas of OSCE activities. All that creates a lose-lose situation, which needs to be resolved until Friday, as the term of office of incumbent OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier expires on June 30."

"The situation is very complicated," said Andrei Kelin, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s European Cooperation Department, who takes part in the conference. "I will not elaborate on the candidates. I will only say that the issue at hand is four positions - the Secretary General, the Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Representative on Freedom of the Media and the High Commissioner on National Minorities. All these positions are vacant now."

According to Kelin, Russia believes it is necessary to observe two basic principles while filling these vacancies. "The first is to make sure that these offices are held not only representatives of the European Union or the countries located west of Vienna but also representatives of the countries located east of the Austrian capital," the diplomat explained. "There are such candidates on the lists. Besides, we believe the gender balance should be ensured too, since these positions were earlier held by women as well, although now it is rather difficult to do that."

Kelin refrained from forecasting whether the OSCE member-countries will be able to find a way out of the situation by the end of this week.

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