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Miroslav Lajčák: The OSCE Ministerial Council is the biggest event in the modern history of Slovakia

Miroslav Lajčák: The OSCE Ministerial Council is the biggest event in the modern history of Slovakia

5.12.2019 | Aktivity ministra | Predsedníctvo Slovenska v OBSE

“We have prepared a document called the Bratislava Appeal, a document in which we call upon ministers to subscribe again to the principles and commitments which laid the foundations for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to express their political will towards their implementation, and to support the dialogue for seeking common effective solutions”. These were the words of the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of and the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Miroslav Lajčák, at the end of the first day of the 26th OSCE Ministerial Council which started today (December 5) in Bratislava. The key message of the Bratislava Appeal is the appeal for a greater flexibility and willingness of the OSCE participating states. “Our organization is not operating in a vacuum; it is but one actor in a diverse multilateral eco-system. We should, therefore, focus on finding what unites us rather than divides us,” emphasized Miroslav Lajčák.


 
In the introductory panel, the chief Slovak diplomat highlighted the results of the Slovak OSCE chairmanship, using as a prism the three key priorities of the slogan: “For people, dialogue and stability.” “The states must cooperate more intensely towards the promotion and support of solutions, the prevention of conflicts and building a safer future,” stated Miroslav Lajčák in his capacity as the acting chair of the organisation which Slovakia has been chairing for the entirety of 2019. Minister Lajčák addressed his remarks to the chiefs of diplomacy, state secretaries and other representatives of the 57 participating states and 11 partner countries of the OSCE. “During its chairmanship, the Slovak Republic has focussed mainly on the improvement of the lives of people who are directly afflicted by conflicts,” specified Miroslav Lajčák. He added, our chairmanship’s participation in the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine is one example of this. “I just returned from Stanytsia Luhanska. After my first trip there in January. Someone told me that it would be a “miracle” if the bridge could be repaired. But that is exactly what happened. Now, people can cross in safety and with dignity,” emphasized the Slovak minister.


 
Minister Lajčák described the OSCE Ministerial Council in Bratislava as the biggest event that Slovakia has ever organized in its modern history. “Almost 40 chief diplomats, 13 deputy ministers and state secretaries, altogether approximately 1500 participants and more than 150 journalists have arrived,” stated the minister of foreign affairs. 

 

In addition to chairing the plenary session of the Ministerial Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the chief Slovak diplomat took part in a series of important bilateral meetings and four accompanying events. One of them was the official launching of the OSCE Virtual Competency and Training Centre. “This is the result of an extra-budgetary project of the organisation, and it focuses on the building of the capacities of experts from the OSCE region in the area of protecting critical energy infrastructure. It is a visible contribution of the Slovak chairmanship to the overall strengthening of security and cooperation of experts in this area,” noted Miroslav Lajčák. 

 

During the first day of the Ministerial Council, the OSCE also presented the new toolkit, focusing on the Inclusion of Women and Effective Peace Processes. “When we take a step back and look at how peace is brokered today, we are still leaving behind 50% of society. The Toolkit on Inclusion of Women and Effective Peace Processes takes a fresh look at how political processes are happening across the OSCE area. But tools cannot use themselves. That’s where we come in; that’s why we need to co-operate, among states, international and regional organizations, and civil society”, stated the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. 


 
In his talks with the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ann Linde, Minister Lajčák acknowledged Sweden’s commitment to assume the OSCE chairmanship in 2021. He offered to his partner to share our experience and his observations and to provide advice related to the OSCE chairing process. The meeting with the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dedias, focused primarily on the issues related to the Greek-Slovak relations. During his bilateral meeting with the Russian minister Sergej Lavrov, Miroslav Lajčák underscored the active role of the Russian Federation in the OSCE, for example, when implementing measures to increase trust in the Transnistrian Settlement Process. Together, they analysed the issues of the upcoming Normandy Four summit in Paris and bilateral relations between the two countries.


 
During the meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Vadym Prystaiko, Minister Lajčák pointed to the activities of the Slovak chairmanship in the OSCE and thanked the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zalinski and the Ukrainian government. “We need a confirmation that the process that has been taking place in Ukraine is positive, and that serious action has been taken to fulfil the Minsk Agreements. Both Minister Lavrov and Minister Prystaiko assured me individually that they were going to Paris well prepared and that they will be interested in and working for a successful meeting,” specified Miroslav Lajčák.

 

Minister Lajčák also drew attention to the situation in Crimea or Nagorno Karabakh. “Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. People are still suffering; people are still dying. And, given the principles and commitments of this Organization, we cannot forget Crimea,” he emphasized. “I have to be frank here: as the outgoing Chair, I don’t have any magic formula on how to resolve these crises and conflicts, once and for all. What I do have is the belief – the strong belief - that the OSCE’s efforts, from de-escalating tensions to opening channels for new dialogue, are invaluable. I further believe that this Organization will be the first to offer its support for concrete steps towards peace,” he specified.

 

To conclude the first day of the Ministerial Council, Minister Lajčák met with Philip T. Reeker, Acting Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State and the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakatani Shinichi.

 

The OSCE Ministerial Council will continue on Friday, December 6, with a series of events. 

 

To download photographs, visit:
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mzvsr/albums/72157712062896682
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/osceorg/albums/72157712030411752
 
 
pdf Speech of Minister Lajčák at the Opening Panel  (pdf; 251.74 KB)

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