In a compelling address during the 30th OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Skopje

30
Nov
2023
VUDI XHYMSHITI

/The OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting, chaired by North Macedonia, continues in Skopje on Thursday, November 30, 2023. (Vudi Xhymshiti/VX Photo)

Skopje, North Macedonia – November 30, 2023

In a compelling address during the 30th OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Skopje, OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmidt delivered a report emphasising the organisation’s commitment to addressing concerns about security challenges. However, Schmidt’s intense focus on Ukraine raised eyebrows, leaving some to wonder if other critical issues in the Western Balkans were inadvertently overlooked.

As the Secretary General passionately spoke about the OSCE’s efforts in Ukraine, she painted a vivid picture of the organisation’s dedication to addressing the impact of war, supporting democratic institutions, and tackling issues like human trafficking and climate change. While her words resonated with the audience, there was a notable absence of emphasis on the ongoing tensions in Kosovo.

Kosovo, a region with its territorial and constitutional order aggressed by a Kremlin-aligned Serbia, has been grappling with escalating tensions and security instability. Serbia’s alignment with Moscow, formalised through a foreign policy treaty signed in September 2022, has raised concerns about the Kremlin’s influence in the Western Balkans.

Despite being in the heart of the Western Balkans during the Ministerial Council meeting, Secretary General Schmidt’s silence on the challenges faced by Kosovo prompted questions about the OSCE’s priorities. The absence of a substantial mention of Serbia’s Kremlin-aligned aggression in Kosovo, coupled with its potential implications for regional stability, left some observers questioning the organisation’s focus.

It was noted that Schmidt touched upon the importance of regional approaches in addressing shared challenges, citing the OSCE’s work in Central Asia as an example. However, the absence of a similar emphasis on the specific challenges faced by Kosovo and its implications for the Western Balkans raised concerns about a potential oversight in the Secretary General’s address.

The Secretary General’s keen focus on Ukraine led some to speculate whether the attention on this particular conflict was driven by its current global significance. The absence of a robust discussion on Kosovo’s challenges in the face of Kremlin-aligned aggression further fuels questions about the consistency of the OSCE’s approach to regional conflicts.

As the meeting continues, I couldn’t help but wonder if the OSCE, despite its noble intentions, might be inadvertently contributing to a narrative that prioritises certain conflicts over others. The need for a more comprehensive and equitable approach to addressing security challenges in the entire OSCE region, including the Western Balkans, should have been among the subjects of discussions if not a topic of post-meeting discussions among delegates.

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Botuar: 30/11/2023

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