SKOPJE, December 1. /TASS/. OSCE member countries have agreed to extend the mandates of the organization's Secretary General Helga Schmid and three other key senior officials, and they have announced that Malta will be the chair in 2024, OSCE Chairman-in-Office, North Macedonia's Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani told a press conference.
"All participating states have agreed that Malta is the new chair for next year. And also, the plan of the chairpersonship of North Macedonia has worked out, we have managed to extend the mandate, so that top four leadership positions of the OSCE - the secretary general and heads of the three autonomous institutions," Osmani emphasized.
According to him, apart from Schmid, these leaders included Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro, the organization's High Commissioner on National Minorities Kairat Abdrakhmanov, and Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Matteo Mecacci.
The OSCE foreign ministers met in Skopje from November 30 to December 1. Osmani did not disclose for how long the powers of the organization's secretary general and other key leaders would be extended. Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that keeping them on for three months would provide enough time to fill these positions with more capable leaders.
Malta, as a non-NATO member state, was offered the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2024 after Russia and Belarus refused to support Estonia's earlier candidacy. Tallinn did not withdraw its candidacy, but did not block Malta either.