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Baltic foreign ministers to boycott OSCE meeting over Russian delegation's presence

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 28, 2023 6:37 PM 2 min read
The logo of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is pictured in front of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, on February 23, 2023. (Alex Halada / AFP via Getty Images)
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The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania released a joint statement on Nov. 28 saying they will boycott the upcoming Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) meeting due to the planned attendance of a delegation from Russia.

The meeting is scheduled to take place from Nov. 30 until Dec. 1 in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, the country currently chairing the organization.

"Russia’s war of aggression and atrocities against its sovereign and peaceful neighbor Ukraine blatantly violate international law, including the UN Charter, and constitute an attack on the OSCE and its underlying principles," the statement read.

In addition, the ministers criticized Russia's obstructionist activities in the OSCE, adding that it has no place as a participant of the organization because it is "not a security partner to Europe."  On the contrary, "today Europe needs security from and against Russia, rather than together with it."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will take part in the meeting personally, an update that will only provide "yet another propaganda opportunity."

The EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said to reporters that he would attend the meeting but would not meet with Lavrov as he has to return to Brussels immediately.  

The Ukrainian delegation, including Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, will also be boycotting the meeting, spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko said earlier on Nov. 28.

Nikolenko also referenced that Russia has been illegally holding three Ukrainian OSCE officials who were captured shortly after the start of the full-scale invasion.

While refraining from participating in the upcoming meeting, "Ukraine remains committed to the principles of the OSCE," Nikolenko added.

The OSCE was formed in the 1970s as the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, which provided a platform for dialogue between the Eastern Bloc and Western Bloc during the Cold War.

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