Harsh condemnations of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and Russia’s blockade of the OSCE operations were voiced by the speakers at the beginning of the OSCE Ministerial Council today in Skopje. They sent a message that the Russian aggression against Ukraine violates the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe from Helsinki, which is the founding document of OSCE, signed back in 1975.
North Macedonia Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski in his address at the Ministerial Council said that in December 2021, when North Macedonia got the chairmanship of OSCE, hardly anyone could have predicted that there would be such turbulence not only in OSCE but also in the wider surroundings.
Kovachevski said that Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine is unjustified and is a flagrant violation of all the basic premises of international law and the values of humanity, and the war itself undermines the foundations of OSCE.
He said no country could prosper in isolation, alluding to Russia’s current position. Kovachevski stressed that conflicts can be resolved in peaceful cooperation through the multilateral system.
NMacedonia’s Prime Minister reminded that OSCE with its field mission in 1992 made a significant contribution to today’s stability of North Macedonia and played an important role in preventing war and suffering in the country.
Today, as a country recognized as a factor of stability, we have a desire to reciprocate to the organization. History will judge us by our actions,” said Kovachevski at the opening of the Ministerial Council, adding that everyone in OSCE needs peace, stability and renewed cooperation.
The chairman of OSCE and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of N. Macedonia Bujar Osmani at the beginning of his address said he hoped that in Skopje we will all together build a constructive future for OSCE and that we will formalize Malta’s OSCE presidency in 2024. Identical to Kovachevski’s, at the very beginning of his speech, Osmani sent a sharp condemnation of the Russian war against Ukraine.
Osmani stressed that Russia with the war against Ukraine attacked the Final act of the Organization from Helsinki and other documents on which the functioning of the OSCE is based, and destroyed the lives of people in Ukraine.
In OSCE, the dialogue and the cooperation were replaced by polarization and divisions, Osmani noted.
The OSCE chairman emphasized that the consensus mechanism for decision-making by all OSCE member states is being weaponized and used as a tool tor achieve national goals of certain countries, referring thereby to Russia.
The president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Pia Kauma, began her address with the same speech as Kovachevski and Osmani – condemning the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. Kauma said that such aggression violates the Final Act of Helsinki, on which the functioning of the OSCE is based.
We must recognize that regional development cannot be secured without peace and stability, Pia Kauma said, voicing the parliamentary support for Ukraine within the OSCE.
OSCE Secretary-General Helga Maria Schmid said she was proud of her work based on OSCE principles and her work during the three incumbent OSCE chairpersons’ mandates.
In addition to thanking for the successful cooperation with the past three chairmen, Schmid stressed the support and excellent work done by OSCE Press Freedom Representative Teresa Ribeiro and the High Representative for National Minorities, as well as the director of the ODIHR, who all together promoted the rule of law, democracy, and freedom of expression.