European Western Balkans

North Macedonia’s OSCE Chairmanship to focus on the people

Photo: OSCE/Micky Kroell

VIENNA/SKOPJE — North Macedonia took over the one-year OSCE Chairmanship on 1 January 2023, with its Foreign Minister and new OSCE Chairman-in-Office Bujar Osmani stating that the focus will be on the impact on the ground and supporting and empowering people who are “the final beneficiaries of the OSCE output.” Ukraine will remain a priority during 2023 and OSCE will continue working on mitigating crisis and supporting peace, he added. 

Osmani explained that North Macedonia’s Chairmanship will emphasize the very principles of the Helsinki Final Act “in the interest of and for the needs of the people.” 

“Our plan is to reach out and lend a hand to conflict-affected populations, but also to others in need. We see the OSCE as a perpetual provider in mitigating crisis and supporting peace and thus we must take appropriate action to enable the OSCE to provide space for its versatile toolbox,” he said. 

The new Chairman-in-Office reaffirmed that Russian aggression on Ukraine remains the key security issue, as it undermines the principles of OSCE and European security in general. Nonetheless, he emphasized the importance of maintaining essential functions and operations across OSCE region in order to ensure regional stability and manage potential new crisis. 

“Ukraine will remain our highest priority. However, let us not forget that there are tensions across the OSCE region that are also of great concern. It is important to build upon the existing formats and to provide support for our presence on the ground and other field operations. The Organization should stay dedicated across the OSCE in search of peace,” Osmani said during presentation of North Macedonia’s Chairmanship priorities to Permanent Council in September 2022. 

He added that it is of utmost importance that safeguarding key principles and values of OSCE and respecting international law are understood as a shared priority.  “Rebuilding trust and engaging in meaningful dialogue presupposes full compliance with the agreed OSCE commitments and principles. We all have to be accountable for our actions. This is the formula for the way forward,” according to Osmani. 

In addition to promoting sustainable economic development and environmental cooperation as areas essential for human security, peace and prosperity, North Macedonia’s Chairmanship will cooperate with youth and civil society in promoting human rights, tolerance and non-discrimination as prerequisites for comprehensive security. 

“The OSCE has proved that it is a relevant and important part of regional and global efforts through its unique, holistic approach to security. North Macedonia will work to ensure that the OSCE remains a vital part of effective, security-related multilateral efforts,” Osmani concluded. 

Minister Osmani will officially inaugurate North Macedonia’s Chairmanship and outline its priorities at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting in Vienna on 12 January 2023. This is the first time North Macedonia will act as Chair of OSCE, the organization founded in 1973 which currently has 57 member states and 11 partners for cooperation. 

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