North Macedonia hosts 30th Ministerial Council of OSCE
Baku, November 30, AZERTAC
The 30th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) kicked off in North Macedonia's capital Skopje on Thursday, according to Anadolu Agency.
About 1,000 participants from 76 delegations are attending the meeting from 57 OSCE member countries.
The Chairman of OSCE and Foreign Minister of N. Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, welcomed the delegations and officially started the Council with opening remarks.
Osmani said Malta will take over the OSCE's rotating presidency from Skopje in Jan. 2024.
"Thank you, Malta, for your willingness to take on this vital role, and to all colleagues for your flexibility and support," said Osmani.
Estonia was supposed to take over the presidency in Jan. 2024, but Russia and Belarus vetoed it, arguing that Estonia is a NATO member country.
EU member Malta is militarily neutral but condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attended an informal dinner in Skopje on Wednesday before leaving the country in honor of the participants.
"We are grateful to Malta for stepping forward to assume the responsibilities of the chairpersonship and carry forward the work of the OSCE in 2024. Malta has the full support and confidence of the United States," said Blinken.
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on X that OSCE is integral to promoting European security and stability.
"The UK will continue to work with partners to isolate Russia for its attempts to undermine the OSCE's principles," said Cameron.
The head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, is also attending the event, while the delegations of Ukraine and the Baltic states will not participate.
Türkiye's Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Akcapar is among the participants.
After the address, the session of the Ministerial Council was held behind closed doors.