German diplomat Helga Schmid, a key participant in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, was appointed secretary-general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), becoming the first woman to head the post.
The Foreign Ministry of Albania, which chairs the organization, made the announcement on Twitter on December 4 following a vote by the foreign ministers of all 57 OSCE member countries.
Schmid, 59, has been serving as German secretary-general of the EU diplomatic service since 2016. She previously served as the German Embassy's spokeswoman in Washington during the 1990s.
The Vienna-based regional security organization plays an important role in resolving conflicts in Europe, including in the post-Soviet region and Western Balkans. Its mandate also includes election monitoring as well as the promotion of human rights and freedom of the press.
Schmid takes over the OSCE at a tough time for the institution as it faces crises in Belarus, Ukraine, and in Nagorno-Karabakh, where Armenian and Azerbaijani forces had been fighting