Borrell: Lavrov in Skopje should hear why Russia is isolated and sanctioned

2023-11-29 22:08:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

Borrell: Lavrov in Skopje should hear why Russia is isolated and sanctioned

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov must hear from participants at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council in Skopje about why Russia is isolated and sanctioned, and must convey messages to the Kremlin.

This is what the high representative of the European Union for foreign policy and security, Josep Borrell, declared on Wednesday night in Skopje, after a meeting with the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovacevski, on the sidelines of the OSCE summit, which will be held on November 30 and December 1 in the Macedonian capital.

The summit will also be attended by the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergei Lavrov, who is expected to arrive in Skopje tonight.

"This is a good opportunity for him [Sergei Lavrov] to hear from the participants of this meeting why Russia is condemned and isolated, and then he will be able to go back to the Kremlin and tell the Kremlin master that the E.U. and the OSCE remain united in condemning Russia's aggressive and illegal behavior," Borrell said, referring to Moscow's outright occupation of Ukraine.

The European Union imposed massive and unprecedented sanctions against Russia after it launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. They include economic sanctions, individual sanctions and visa measures.

Lavrov's participation was made possible by Skopje and Sofia temporarily suspending sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russian aircraft flights due to Russian aggression against Ukraine. The permit is temporary and valid only for the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the OSCE, or 3 hours before and 72 hours after the specified date.

Borrelli said he understands countries such as Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which decided to boycott the summit because of Lavrov's participation, but also Skopje for its decision to enable his participation.

"I understand that some participating countries were not happy with your decision to participate Minister Lavrov, I understand, because with Russia's illegal war against Ukraine, it is undermining the same principles of the OSCE and violating the laws , and is therefore facing international sanctions and isolation. However, your decision to allow Lavrov's participation is in line with our common goal, to keep multilateralism alive," he stressed.

The EU's diplomatic chief said he welcomed the deal for Malta to chair the OSCE in 2024.

"Despite all the difficulties we live in, the OSCE remains an important partner and forum for exchanges in the European Union. We greatly appreciate the role of the OSCE, especially in times like these. The OSCE is the only platform where the common European architecture and security should be discussed, despite Russia's efforts to destroy this organization, its basic principles and permanent security", said Borell.

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, also stayed in Skopje today, where he met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia and the Chairman of the OSCE, Bujar Osmani. However, according to diplomatic sources, he will leave North Macedonia as early as tonight after a working dinner organized on the sidelines of the OSCE summit, avoiding any possible meeting with the head of Russian diplomacy.

OSCE sources said the Russian delegation could include up to 85 people, including the Foreign Minister's personal doctor, his deputy, Aleksandr Grushko, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, security personnel and 24 Russian journalists. .

In an interview on Wednesday with Radio Free Europe, Osmani rejected assessments that Russia has won by voting for Malta to be the organization's leading country in 2024, after Moscow vetoed NATO member Estonia.

At the previous OSCE ministerial meeting held last December in the Polish city of Llocz, Poland did not allow Lavrov to attend.

Warsaw, leader of the OSCE in 2022, noted that Lavrov was on the EU's sanctions list due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in February of that year./ REL

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