As of January 1, North Macedonia has assumed the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Established in 1975, the OSCE focuses on early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation. There are currently 57 participating countries, mainly from Europe. Chairmanship of the OSCE is held by a member state on a calendar-year basis. The organization holds observer status at the United Nations.
In a press release distributed by the OSCE, North Macedonia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bujar Osmani, stated, “In times when the OSCE is seriously tested, it is essential to rebuild mutual trust and confidence and to demonstrate the political will to re-engage in dialogue on widely shared security concerns.”
Osmani declared that the war in Ukraine remains the primary focus of the organization, as it “erodes the foundations of the OSCE. It runs counter to the principles we have agreed upon and hold dear. It is a far cry from our milestones and the guiding principles governing relations between participating States.”
The North Macedonia Foreign Minister declared that while the war in Ukraine remains the organization’s primary focus, “let us not forget that there are tensions across the OSCE region that are also of great concern. It is important to build upon the existing formats and to provide support for our presence on the ground and in other field operations. The Organization should stay dedicated across the OSCE in search of peace.” He listed border management, migration, human trafficking, hybrid and cyber threats, and women, peace, and security among his country’s top priorities.
OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid welcomed Foreign Minister Osmani’s presentation of the incoming Chairman’s priorities and pledged her full support to North Macedonia’s Chairmanship. In her official response to Osmani, Schmid stated, “I welcome the breadth of North Macedonia’s priorities for 2023 – rightly balanced across our three dimensions – and addressing many of the most pertinent contemporary challenges. My team and those of all other OSCE executive structures will stand behind you in delivering on them.”