OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Albania’s Prime Minister and Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Edi Rama had a frank and constructive discussion today with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, on a number of key issues that affect security in the OSCE region. The meeting took place during Rama’s first official visit to Moscow as OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.
Rama welcomed Russia’s ongoing engagement with the Organization to tackle the security challenges facing the region. He said that sustained dialogue and sincere co-operation between governments, a credible effort to adhere to and implement international commitments, and putting people at the heart of efforts towards making a difference on the ground, are required.
“The crisis in and around Ukraine is today the most pressing security challenge in Europe. Addressing this is a top priority for Albania’s OSCE Chairmanship, not least to stabilize the security situation and ease the hardship of civilians living in conflict-affected areas in eastern Ukraine,” Rama stated.
Rama also said that the Albanian OSCE Chairmanship will support the way forward for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. “In doing so, we will do our utmost to ensure respect for OSCE principles and commitments. And we will strongly encourage the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements, supporting the efforts of the Trilateral Contact Group and the process of the Normandy Format.” He stressed the importance of continuing to build on the positive steps made in the last months, including at the Paris Normandy Summit.
Emphasizing his full support to the work of the dedicated women and men of theOSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Rama said: “The Mission needs to be given safe, secure and unhindered access in order to fully implement its mandate, together with the necessary support and resources it requires.”
Russia’s efforts in co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group and engagement in the Transdniestrian Settlement Process were appreciated. According to Rama, it is vital for Moscow to maintain its constructive support of, and engagement in the Geneva International Discussions and in the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meetings in Ergneti. “Russia is a key participant in the relevant negotiating formats. I trust that it can use its influence to move us closer to peace,” Rama said further.
The Albanian OSCE Chairmanship is also looking to Russia to engage substantively on OSCE discussions on arms control and confidence-building measures in the year ahead, especially on the Vienna Document and the Structured Dialogue process.
The discussion between Rama and Lavrov also touched on transnational threats such as violent extremism and terrorism, challenges posed by cyber/ICT threats, corruption, as well as the need of all participating States to promote tolerance and non-discrimination related to human rights.
“In the end, the OSCE can only be as strong as the shared political will and determination of its participating States,” said the Chairperson-in-Office. “The Organization functions by consensus. So finding and delivering effective responses to our challenges is a collective responsibility that we must all embrace.”