Will Blinken and Lavrov meet in the diplomatic center of the world?
At the world's largest political and security event, the Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which will be held at the "Boris Trajkovski" Sports Center, delegations at the level of ministers of foreign affairs from over 70 countries, i.e. from 57 countries, are expected. members of the OSCE and partner countries from the Mediterranean and Asian groups
Tomorrow, the day after and on Friday, Skopje will host the world's largest political and security event, the Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which will be held at the "Boris Trajkovski" Sports Center, where high-level delegations are expected ministers of foreign affairs from over 70 countries, i.e. from 57 OSCE member countries and partner countries from the Mediterranean and the Asian group. The fact that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be in the same place at the same time attracts worldwide attention, so there is massive speculation about whether their meeting will take place, which would be the first such meeting between the US and Russia after the Russian aggression against Ukraine in February 2022. According to official statements from both the Russian and American sides, there will be no such meeting, but nothing is ruled out. After the Russian aggression, US officials avoid communications with their Russian counterparts. Lavrov and Blinken met only once, briefly, at the G-20 Summit this year in March.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dimitri Kuleba, on the other hand, refused to attend the summit after Lavrov's participation was confirmed, but representatives from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will come. After the cancellation of Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania also canceled for the same reasons, because previously Russia and Belarus prevented Estonia's candidacy for the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2024, so Malta was proposed as a compromise candidate, which in the Baltic states is considered for "Russian triumph".
Main stars Blinken and Lavrov
The Council of Ministers should make essential decisions about the future of the OSCE, on which the survival of this organization depends, which was established after the Second World War in order to dampen the tensions in the East-West relationship. It is necessary to elect Malta for the future rotating chairmanship, but a consensus remains to be reached on the future four executive leaders of the OSCE – the Secretary General, the Director for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Commissioner for Minorities and the Representative for Freedom of the Media.
Russian Minister Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow that the chances of saving the OSCE are small.
- Macedonia invited us to the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OSCE. We will see how they interact. There have already been several requests for meetings, including from Western officials. Of course, we will meet everyone. We can still try to save the OSCE, but to be honest, the chances of that are small - said Lavrov.
The OSCE ministerial meeting will begin tomorrow evening with an informal dinner of the ministers of foreign affairs, which will be held in a Skopje hotel, after which the main working meeting will be held on Thursday, and the final press conference will be held on Friday.
The American head of diplomacy Blinken will speak at the Summit about the Organization's role in promoting security in the region and will thank Macedonia for its leadership role.
- During the visit to North Macedonia, the Secretary of State will engage with colleagues from the OSCE to reaffirm the firm commitments of the United States in the OSCE and the main mission of the organization to promote security, stability and cooperation between states, with a special emphasis on human rights and peaceful resolution of the disputes - said the spokesman of the State Department, Matthew Miller.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, James O'Brien, however, briefed that Blinken will also talk about the support of the US and its allies for Ukraine.
Osmani: The election of Malta is not a Russian victory
The Brussels portal "Politico" writes that the news about the preliminary agreement for the election of Malta as a new president is facing criticism in the Baltics and in Ukraine. Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani, who as the current chairman of the OSCE mediated the agreement, told "Politico" that he does not consider the compromise a victory for Russia. He says he tried all possible solutions and initially fully supported Estonia, but had to find a compromise candidate.
– We have won, the democratic world, those who follow the rules-based international order. And with this agreement, the organization is safe - said Osmani.
The organization has faced criticism in Brussels that it has outlived its purpose and failed to stop the war in Ukraine, but several officials, including Osmani, insisted the OSCE could play a key role in monitoring any potential ceasefire or peace deal. contract.
- I think that the OSCE will be the one to enter if there is peace in Ukraine - said Osmani for the Brussels media.
When asked who will meet with Lavrov, given that the head of Russian diplomacy claimed that some Western countries have asked to meet with him while he is in Skopje, Osmani refused to reveal the agenda, "Politico" adds.
Skopje under heavy security
Security in Skopje in the coming days will be taken care of by the police, but also by the army, which will participate in transporting the high-ranking guests from the airport to the city. For the entire state summit, the focus is on guaranteeing the safety of the delegations and the successful implementation of the meeting.
The Minister of the Interior, Oliver Spasovski, says that a third level of security is planned for the summit. Part of the main city streets leading to SRC "Boris Trajkovski" will be closed to traffic.
- There will be difficult movement, especially in Centar and in Karposh, where the entire event will be held. We appeal to the citizens first of all to be patient and to respect the orders that will be issued by the officials, because it is good for all of us and it is good for the safe development of this whole event. There will be no complete closure of the streets, but in certain intervals, and despite the difficulty in movement, citizens will be able to complete their duties - said Spasovski.
A special team has been formed for the organization of the event, which includes several government institutions, and according to Spasovski, the preparation for the summit lasts a whole year.
- It is an extensive action that we have to carry out from a security point of view, and all services are fully prepared. I expect that everything will go in the best possible order - said the Minister of Internal Affairs.
A great opportunity for the affirmation of the state
The Council of Ambassadors stated that it highly appreciates the activities of the Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior and other state institutions, which undertake everything in order to successfully hold the 30th Ministerial Meeting of the OSCE.
- The role and significance of the OSCE is particularly prominent in the context of the tense geopolitical situation in terms of security, caused by the military actions in Ukraine and Israel and the risk of their spillover into other countries or regions. Therefore, the OSCE and all the members of the organization, and especially the chairman and the state that will succeed him, must make intensive efforts to revitalize and strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization and to actualize its role as a conflict preventer or mediator, facilitator or conciliator of the opposing states - stated by the Council of Ambassadors.
The Council assesses that the organization of an event of this scale, which North Macedonia has as the current chairman of the OSCE, will be an opportunity for the affirmation of the state and its democratic and organizational capacities.
- Bearing in mind the importance of the gathering of foreign ministers and other delegations, about seventy in total, Skopje and the entire country will be the subject of interest of a large number of journalists, news media, politicians and citizens of Europe and the world these days. The successful organization of an event of this scale will contribute to the affirmation of the democratic and organizational capacities of the Republic of North Macedonia and will be a credit to all citizens - says the announcement of the Council of Ambassadors.