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19 February 201912:08

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at talks with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajcak, Moscow, February 19, 2019

343-19-02-2019

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Mr Minister, my dear Miroslav,

Colleagues,

I am delighted to welcome you to Moscow within the framework of Slovakia’s 2019 OSCE Chairmanship. We met in October 2018 when you were preparing to take over as the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, and today we have met with you in your new capacity as the head of the world’s largest regional organisation by the number of member countries.

Slovakia assumed the OSCE chairmanship at a difficult time when many traditional instruments for ensuring strategic stability are being eroded. There are many unsettled conflicts, including in the OSCE area. Regrettably, we have not done away with the threat of terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal immigration. A serious battle is being waged in global trade, sometimes in violation of the accepted rules, and we see continued interference in the internal affairs of states, including European members of the OSCE.

We hope that your experience of government and international work, including at the UN, will help you rally the efforts of the OSCE member states towards finding the best solutions to the current problems and towards ensuring forward movement in all spheres where the member states have reached consensus, which is the fundamental OSCE principle.

You have a tight schedule. We know that you have recently visited Ukraine. We hope that you will share your opinion with us and that we will also discuss the initiatives you have advanced as the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, which we support, in principle.  Our talks will certainly be interesting and fruitful.

Once again, welcome to Moscow.

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