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Colonel Markus Widmer assumed the position of Head of the OSCE High-Level Planning Group on 1 January 2014. He graduated from the University of Zurich prior to starting his military career with the Signal Corps of the Swiss Armed Forces. Widmer held several Staff Officer functions in the Logistic Corps and served as Language and Civics Course Director at the Swiss Armed Forces College. He was an English instructor in the Swiss United Nations Military Observer Course and responsible for Military English training of the Swiss professional non-commissioned officers at the Swedish Armed Forces International Centre. Widmer was Deputy Defence Attaché in Vienna from 2005 to 2008 and Defence Attaché in Belgrade from 2008 to 2013.
The High-Level Planning Group (HLPG) was established in 1994 with an open-ended mandate, issued on 23 March 1995, to make recommendations to the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) on developing a plan for the establishment, force structure requirements and operation of a multinational OSCE peacekeeping force for the area of conflict dealt with by the OSCE Minsk Conference. The Head of the HLPG is appointed by the CiO.
It is located in Vienna and composed of five officers seconded by OSCE participating States, and one fixed-term contracted staff member.