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article imageOSCE chief nomination ends leadership crisis

By AFP     Jul 18, 2017 in World

The OSCE on Tuesday nominated a new chief, ending an unprecedented leadership crisis within the security body after months of squabbling between member states.

Swiss diplomat Thomas Greminger, 57, has been appointed secretary general, current OSCE chair Austria said in a statement.

He takes over from Italian Lamberto Zannier, who left at the end of June.

The announcement came a week after the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe held informal talks in Vienna to resolve the leadership deadlock.

Some of the 57 members of the body, which monitors conflicts, elections, media freedom and human rights, had demanded national concessions before giving their consent.

Following the July 11 meeting, the OSCE said countries had reached a "political agreement".

Three other top roles left empty because of the internal rifts were also filled on Tuesday.

Zannier has been appointed OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities, while French ex-minister Harlem Desir is the new representative on freedom of the media.

Iceland's former foreign minister Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir will head the OSCE office overseeing democratic institutions and human rights.

Earlier this month, Zannier warned that the OSCE, created during the Cold War to ease dialogue between East and West, risked becoming obsolete unless it "rethought its fundamentals".

The OSCE has been under pressure as it struggles to help end the bloody separatist conflict pitting pro-Russian rebels against Ukrainian government forces.

The conflict as well as Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 have pushed ties between Moscow and the West to their lowest point since the Cold War.

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