Miroslav Lajčák: The OSCE Toolbox Provides Everything We Need for Effective Functioning

Miroslav Lajčák: The OSCE Toolbox Provides Everything We Need for Effective Functioning

6.12.2019 | Aktivity ministra | Predsedníctvo Slovenska v OBSE

In Bratislava, a two-day meeting of the 26th Ministerial Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was concluded. At its end, Slovakia symbolically handed over the chair to Albania, which starting in January 2020 will hold the chairmanship for a period of one year. Miroslav Lajčák, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and the OSCE Acting Chair, began his speech by saying, “If something is working, we don‘t need to repair it”. According to his words, the principles on which the OSCE was founded 45 years ago remain valid today. “We have everything we need: missions with unique capacities, a whole set of functional tools which have been introduced throughout the years of our activity, and also a comprehensive approach to security. What is lacking though is the often-mentioned political will. Without it, we will continue going round in circles,” added the Minister, referring to the Bratislava Appeal, which he used to appeal to the participants of the Ministerial Council. In the appeal, he stressed that it is necessary not only to speak about multilateralism but also actually to practice it. The appeal was supported by the majority of the participating states. “Our principles must be brought to practice. I believe that if we do so, in a year’s time, in Tirana, we will see better results,“ concluded the Slovak minister.


The OSCE Ministerial Council in Bratislava, which welcomed more than 1600 delegates from 57 participating and 11 OSCE partner states, was a platform for taking stock of our one-year chairmanship. At the concluding press conference, in the presence of Thomas Greminger, the OSCE Secretary General and Edi Rama, the Prime Minister of Albania, Miroslav Lajčák said it wasn’t an easy chairing year, nor was the chairmanship itself easy. “For our part, it was mainly about an effort to strengthen links between political processes and their impact on people,“ he added. People, together with dialogue and stability, were one of the three priorities of the chairmanship. According to the minister, the culminating activity of the chairmanship were actions in Ukraine. It is there that he started and also ended the series of his visits to the OSCE regions. The two-day meeting in Bratislava also produced concrete outputs, such as the appointment of the OSCE Chairperson’s new Special Representative in Ukraine Heidi Grau from Switzerland, who is replacing Ambassador Martin Sajdik, and the confirmations of the chairing OSCE countries for the next two years after Albania: Sweden in 2021 and Poland in 2022.


After the conclusion of the meeting, Minister Lajčák officially acknowledged four Slovak individuals and one NGO. He presented them with a silver plaque for their significant engagement in the OSCE and for their active contribution to the fulfilment of priorities of the Slovak chairmanship in the organization. The awards were given to Alexander Duleba (for his long-term engagement in Slovak-Ukraine relations), Rastislav Kužel (for his long-term contribution of expertise and the fulfilment of the OSCE mandate in the area of elections observation), Jana Kobzová (for her active pursuit of the OSCE priorities in Ukraine), Tomáš Forró (for his authentic depiction for the Slovak public of the lives of people on the ground in the conflict-afflicted Ukraine), and the NGO  People in Peril (Človek v ohrození) (for providing humanitarian aid to people who suffer from consequences of war).


The chief Slovak diplomat took part in a series of bilateral meetings also during the last day of the Ministerial Council. With his Moldovan counterpart, Aureliu Ciocoi, he primarily discussed the issue of the Transnistrian conflict. The discussion followed up on the October talks about the Transnistrian Settlement Process in the 5+2 format which took place under and at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Miroslav Lajčák reminded people of the significance of the Moldova Association Agreement with the European Union. The relations between the EU and Moldova were an item of discussion between Minister Lajčák and the Head of the EU Delegation in Chisinau, Petro Michalko. When speaking with the chief Slovak diplomat, the Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, acknowledged the work of the Slovak chairmanship in the OSCE from the viewpoint of smaller countries, such as Armenia. During Minister Lajčák’s talks with his Georgian partner David Zalkaliani, in addition to other themes, the Slovak support for the priorities of the Georgian presidency in the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe was voiced.  When talking to the acting Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Idrís Zaman, Miroslav Lajčák expressed Slovakia’s continuing support for the processes of transformation of this country and emphasized his ongoing interest in strengthening the economic cooperation. During the meeting with Damdin Tsongtbaatar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, the chief Slovak diplomat referred to the ongoing interest in the strengthening of economic cooperation, and in talks with his Andorra counterpart Maria Ubacht Font they focused on the importance of effective multilateralism. Within the framework of the Ministerial Council, Minister Lajčák also met with Miroslav Jenca, Assistant Secretary-General for Europe. They mainly discussed the key challenges that the UN currently faces.


Speech of M. Lajčák at the „Young Voices for a Safer Future“ event


Closing remarks by M. Lajčák at the end of the 26th Ministerial Council


Press Conference after the 26th Ministerial Council (in Slovak)

Award Ceremony


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