Osmani seeks creative solutions against Russian vetoes: OSCE and Moscow in open conflict

Bujar Osmani/Photo: MFA

I have already proposed "creative solutions" in connection with the Russian blockade of Estonia's candidacy for the chairmanship, the appointment of persons to the leadership positions, as well as the budget of the Organization, Bujar Osmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the OSCE, told "Sloboden Pechat".

Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani, now also chairman of the OSCE, promised that he will not allow the biggest security organization in the world to collapse, because Russia wants to paralyze its functioning by putting a veto after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Problems for the OSCE have increased since Russia blocked decisions on the organization's budget and its future chairman.

- The Russian Federation is blocking Estonia's candidacy for the chairmanship of the OSCE for 2024, the appointment of persons for leadership positions in the Organization, as well as its budget. Russia's "game with no outcome" approach, which has been escalating since the start of the war in Ukraine, has paralyzed the Organization. On Tuesday, I convened an extraordinary Permanent Council of the OSCE in Vienna, which was attended by the majority of foreign ministers of the participating countries and discussed the Organization's challenges related to the lack of consensus on key issues for its functionality - Osmani told us.

He personally spoke with the largest number of colleagues from the participating countries and they will "do everything necessary, which is within the framework of the principles and commitments of the OSCE to ensure its continuity and functionality".

Osmani also spoke by phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. While the Macedonian MFA announced that Osmani referred to "the challenges of the OSCE in the region and reiterated the commitment of the chairmanship of North Macedonia to respecting the fundamental principles and commitments of the OSCE", the Russian MFA was more specific:

"Current issues from the OSCE agenda were discussed. The main attention was devoted to the systemic crisis in the Organization, the prospects for the appointment of the OSCE chairmanship for 2024 and the heads of the executive structures, as well as the obstacles to harmonizing the consolidated budget of the Organization for the current year." Sergey Lavrov stressed the need for normalizing the activities of the OSCE based on the Rules of Procedure, for the development and making of decisions exclusively in accordance with the basic rule of consensus, the Russian MFA said.

Although both ministries are not releasing details of the conversation, the diplomatic messages are clear. But how to overcome the problems between the OSCE and Moscow? Many members of the organization remain pessimistic that a common solution will be found, stressing the need for unity and cooperation to ensure a secure future. The fate of the OSCE, according to them, is in the hands of the members, and Osmani concludes that "the challenges are huge and to overcome them, we need to act together".

Osmani told "Sloboden Pechat" that he had already proposed "creative solutions" for both the budget and the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2024, which have not yet been accepted, but he did not reveal details. He adds that he still has a few weeks to work on reaching a consensus, after which they will have to start making decisions.

These issues are not the only ones on which Russia and the OSCE, and especially Chairman Osmani, have clashed. After the OSCE condemned the elections in Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, the Russian MFA criticized it for not understanding the essence of its powers and not having to comment on questions about the territorial structure of the organization's member states. , but to establish a normal practice for monitoring election processes.

Previously, the Permanent Mission of Russia in the OSCE in connection with the maintenance of the so-called The "Prague Forum on the Economic and Environmental Dimension of the OSCE in 2023" said that the "initiative" was a crude attempt by North Macedonia to replace the final meeting of the annual OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum, traditionally held in September in Prague, as a result of its failure to agree on the theme and agenda of this most important event in the second half of this year. The Macedonian presidency, according to Moscow, conducts "creative diplomacy", which undermines decision-making by consensus.

Among the series of criticisms of the OSCE Chairmanship of the Russian MFA is the reaction due to the refusal of Russian non-governmental organizations to participate in an event for gender equality and strengthening the rights and opportunities of women, under the auspices of the OSCE Chairmanship, which was held in Tetovo. Specialized Russian public organizations were also scheduled to attend the event, but they were prevented from doing so, as the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says, because an unexpected rule was introduced that all non-governmental organizations must have an invitation from the Presidency.

"The system of participation by invitation only was introduced by the North Macedonians exactly at the moment when they saw the Russians in the lists of applicants. On what basis does the Presidency decide who to invite and who not? It is the usual favoritism on political grounds. Apparently, the North Macedonians have finally stopped caring about their reputation and are not even trying to strive for impartiality, which should be characteristic of the state that holds the position of chairman of a large regional international organization," Moscow responded.

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