The OSCE summit in Skopje begins

2023-11-30 08:40:00, Kosova & Bota CNA
The OSCE summit in Skopje begins
Illustrative photo

In Skopje, North Macedonia, on November 30, the summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) begins, with the participation of diplomats from 57 member countries of the organization, including the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov. Lavrov arrived in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, in the early hours of November 30.

The Russian diplomat's participation was made possible by Skopje and Sofia, which temporarily suspended sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russian aircraft flights due to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

This has caused many debates and reactions, whether Russia, by participating in this summit, is benefiting and strengthening its position on the international stage, despite the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine and the Baltic states, as a sign of dissatisfaction, have not sent the Ministers of Foreign Affairs to the Ministerial Council. The work of the Summit began unofficially on Wednesday evening, with an informal dinner and family photos, at the epicenter of which was the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, but not the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, after the plane he was on flying had not yet arrived in Skopje.

The American chief diplomat left Skopje after the informal dinner, thus avoiding his presence in a room with his Russian counterpart, Lavrov.

After the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia and the chairman of the OSCE, Bujar Osmani, the American diplomat congratulated North Macedonia for the successful chairmanship of the OSCE, while he also welcomed the selection of Malta as the next chairman of this organization. during the year 2024.

"You have done an extremely good job, you have managed to expand the mission of the OSCE, despite great obstacles. I am glad that Malta will take the baton. We have a strategic partnership that is really focused on the work we do together as allies and partners, but also on the work we do together on a bilateral level," said Blinken.

The Macedonian chief diplomat Osmani thanked Blinken for the extraordinary support, as he said, during the OSCE chairmanship, while he informed him about "solving the critical existential challenges for the OSCE chairmanship in 2024".

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, did not make further comments about the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the OSCE and the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergei Lavrov, in it.

However, comments on the participation of the Russian diplomat were made by the EU's high representative for foreign policy and security, Josep Borrell, also a participant in the informal dinner of the OSCE Ministerial Council.

Borrell said that "the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, should hear from the participants in the OSCE Ministerial Council in Skopje why Russia is isolated and sanctioned and should convey the messages to the Kremlin".

The head of European diplomacy said that he understands countries such as Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which decided to boycott the summit because of Lavrov's participation, but also Skopje for its decision to enable the participation of the Russian official.

"I understand that some participating countries were not happy with your decision to participate Minister Lavrov, I understand, because with Russia's illegal war against Ukraine, it is undermining the same principles of the OSCE and violating the laws , and is therefore facing international sanctions and isolation. However, your decision to allow Lavrov's participation is consistent with our common goal of keeping multilateralism alive," Borrell said.

The senior European official said he welcomed the agreement for Malta to chair the OSCE for 2024 and added that he believed the decision would be confirmed at the Skopje summit. Just like the American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, the high representative of the European Union for foreign policy and security, Josep Borrell, left Skopje after the informal meeting to avoid a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergei Lavrov.

During the work of the summit, in addition to the decision on the next chairman of the OSCE, the participants must also approve other decisions, such as the budget and appoint leaders to key positions of the organization.

On the first day of the Council, on Thursday, the signing of the joint statement on the fight against corruption in South-Eastern Europe through the return of properties and the use of digitalization is foreseen. Whereas, the second topic concerns the impact of climate change on the security of people in the countries that are part of the OSCE.

The two-day meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council is the biggest diplomatic event ever held in North Macedonia. The Macedonian authorities have taken increased security measures by restricting traffic in the main parts of Skopje, while a holiday has also been announced in the capital./ Rel

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