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Lavrov to attend OSCE ministerial meeting to discuss security, organization’s future

The ministers will have to decide on a candidate for the post of the next OSCE Chairman

SKOPJE, November 30. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in a two-day meeting of the OSCE foreign ministers, which begins in the North Macedonian capital city of Skopje on Thursday.

The OSCE Ministerial Council is the organization’s central decision-making body. Its agenda includes the review of the security situation in Eurasia and the Euro-Atlantic region, as well as the organization’s internal matter. Thus, the ministers are to decide on the candidate for the next OSCE chairmanship. The current Chairperson-in-Office, North Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani has expressed confidence that the ministers would reach consensus on this issue.


Last year, Lavrov skipped the OSCE ministerial meeting after Poland, the then OSCE chair-in-office, denied the Russian delegation led by Lavrov the possibility to attend the OSCE ministerial meeting in Lodz on December 1 and 2, 2022. The Russian foreign ministry slammed Warsaw’s actions as unprecedented, provocative and incompliant with Poland’s status as the chair. The Russian delegation was led by Permanent Representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich.

In 2023, North Macedonia, which along with other EU countries, banned flights of Russian air companies in February 2022, decided to open its airspace to Lavrov’s plane.

Following North Macedonia’s decision, Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian, and Ukrainian foreign ministers said they would boycott the event. Notably, Estonia earlier came forward as a candidate for the next OSCE chairmanship. Russia, however, has repeatedly said that it would not support its bid.

"I think that the non-arrival of the three Baltic states means nothing for the OSCE’s future," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said.

The OSCE members are 57 states.


Meanwhile, the US delegation to the meeting will be led by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. However, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, Washington has not requested a meeting with Lavrov in Skopje.

The meeting will also be attended by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who also said he did not plan to meet with Lavrov, unlike Austria’s Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, who said that he was ready for talks with Lavrov in Skopje if he had such an opportunity.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that some countries of the collective West had spared no effort to bar the Russian delegation from participating in the OSCE meeting and this way had put the very existence of the OSCE at stake. She also said that several Russian journalists had been denied accreditation.

Attempts to save the OSCE

Speaking at the Primakov Readings forum on Monday, Lavrov noted that he felt no optimism regarding "the fate of the associations where the United States and its allies rule the roost." "It is still possible to try to save the OSCE, but, I will be frank, the chances are slim," Lavrov said.

Along with participating in plenary sessions in Skopje, Lavrov will hold contacts in other formats. "There are many requests for bilateral meetings. There will also be multilateral meetings. Bilateral ones are planned as well," Zakharova said.

Chairmanship and other matters

According to Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna, his country is not withdrawing its application to the OSCE chairmanship in 2024. However, in his words, Tallinn is not against North Macedonia’s alternative proposal. According to Osmani, the organization has managed to made decisions that would help reach a consensus on the chairmanship during the ministerial meeting.

Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela said earlier that his country was ready to take over the OSCE chairmanship in 2024 if Estonia is turned down.

Apart from that, the ministers are expected to discuss current geopolitical processes and conflicts in various part of the world. Other topics, according to organizers, will include digitalization, climate change and their impacts on security, as well as support for pluralism.