18 February 201911:39

Comment by the Information and Press Department on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s talks with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajcak

332-18-02-2019

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On February 19, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold talks with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajcak.

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, elected by member-states for one calendar year, is responsible for coordinating activities and holding consultations on current issues, appointing heads of field missions and special representatives for certain conflicts and problems, and organising policy-making authorities’ meetings and other events. In doing so, the Chairperson-in-Office follows OSCE consensus decisions and considers the whole range of member-states’ opinions.

Planned topics of discussion with the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office include common European issues, current OSCE activities and plans for the Organisation in 2019.

In particular, the talks will touch on the military and political aspects of security and the role of the OSCE “structured dialogue” in restoring confidence and de-escalating tensions.

Other planned topics of consideration include the OSCE contribution to conflict settlement in eastern Ukraine, Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the Organisation’s mediation in the Geneva international discussions on stability in Transcaucasia, its activities in the Balkans and Central Asia, and its contribution to promoting security and cooperation in the Mediterranean.

In the context of Ukraine, planned topics of discussion include the work of the Contact Group in which the OSCE coordinates direct dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk as parties to the conflict with the aim of implementing the Minsk Package of Measures. Detailed consideration will be given to the activities of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine which is meant to track the developments in Donbass and support human rights and the rights of ethnic minorities throughout the entire country. The work of the Mission is especially important in the context of the approaching presidential election, violations of citizens' language and educational rights, neo-Nazi disorder and the church schism provoked by the government of Ukraine.

The agenda will include the need to consolidate OSCE capacity to counter common threats – international terrorism, drug trafficking, organised crime and challenges in cyberspace. The participants plan to discuss preparations for relevant OSCE events and cooperation on these issues with the CTSO, the CIS and the SCO, as well as the implementation of the OSCE projects to train law enforcement officers of Afghanistan and Serbia at training centres of the Russian Ministry of the Interior.

The participants will exchange views on the OSCE’s economic and environmental dimension, including greater economic interconnectedness, the interlinking of integration processes, opportunities to use the OSCE as a venue for building relations between the EAEU and the EU, and major problems related to energy cooperation and the development of the digital economy.

OSCE humanitarian plans will be reviewed. It is important that they include the priority tasks of defending traditional values, the rights of ethnic minorities as well as religious and language rights, ensuring freedom of the media, countering Christianophobia and Islamophobia and attempts to rewrite and falsify history, and combatting manifestations of neo-Nazism.

The ministers will pay particular attention to the OSCE’s specialised institutions and field missions and addressing thematic, personnel and geographical imbalances in their performance.

They will also discuss various aspects of bilateral relations, including the development of trade, economic and inter-parliamentary ties as well as cooperation in energy and transport, the defence industry, and cultural and humanitarian matters. The ministers will also review topical international issues.