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Estonian FM: Russia, Belarus veto Estonia's OSCE chairmanship

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 21, 2023 7:19 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 decision to appoint Estonia to the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for 2024 was blocked by a veto from Russia and Belarus, the Estonian Foreign Ministry said Nov. 21.

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.

As its chairmanship is rotating, one of the 57 participating state holds the position each year, with the foreign minister of that state acting as the chairperson.

"It is regrettable that due to the veto imposed by Russia and, at their instigation, Belarus today in Vienna, Estonia’s candidacy for the Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2024 was not confirmed," Estonian Foreign Affairs Minister Margus Tsahkna said in a statement.

Russia vetoed the appointment because it does not want the next country to hold the chairmanship to be a NATO member, Tsahkna said, describing this as "blackmail."

According to Tsahkna, Russia has been blocking the organization's work for years.

"Moscow has prevented the organization from adopting its budget, holding official OSCE events, and extending foreign missions, resulting in the end of all OSCE foreign missions in Ukraine, which has been subjected to Russia’s aggression."

Tsahkna pointed out that, six weeks before the end of 2023, the OSCE still does not have a confirmed chairmanship for 2024.

Estonia has been the joint candidate of the European Union for the chairmanship since 2020.

The current chairperson of the OSCE is Bujar Osmani, North Macedonia's foreign affairs minister.

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