Malta Assumes OSCE Chairmanship Under Challenging Circumstances

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: January 4, 2024; 23:45 ♦ (Vindobona)

At a time of global tension and uncertainty, Malta will assume the Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on 1 January 2024. Malta's Foreign Minister Ian Borg expressed a deep sense of responsibility for this new role, especially in light of the ongoing complex and critical security challenges.

The 57 member states of the OSCE agreed that Malta and its Foreign Minister Ian Borg should take over the organization's rotating chairmanship after Russia barred Estonia from the job. / Picture: © OSCE/Minister for Foreign, Trade and European Affairs of Malta, ID 561409, (CC BY-ND 4.0)

The decision to nominate Malta as Chair for 2024 was a last-minute decision, reflecting the collective ambition to preserve the organization. Malta intends to uphold and strengthen the fundamental principles and commitments of the OSCE as set out in the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris.

The Maltese Chairmanship will focus on strengthening the Organization and strive to find solutions to ongoing conflicts in the OSCE area. One focus will be on security and human rights while supporting the OSCE presence on the ground. Ukraine is a particular focus, with Malta emphasizing the need to end Russia's war against Ukraine and to seek solutions to help Ukraine and its people.

Malta also stresses the importance of the OSCE as an inclusive organization that brings together both Euro-Atlantic and Euro-Asian communities and strengthens relations with Mediterranean and Asian partners for cooperation.

In its entirety, the Maltese Chairmanship aims to strengthen the resilience of people in all three dimensions of comprehensive security. Malta plans to adopt an inclusive approach by incorporating gender and youth perspectives and increasing the participation of women and youth in peace and security building.

As Chair of the OSCE and an elected member of the UN Security Council until the end of 2024, Malta will take a leading role in multilateral efforts to strengthen cooperation to restore trust and confidence.

The Maltese Chairmanship will be officially launched at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting in Vienna on January 25, 2024. Malta looks forward to working closely with the OSCE Secretary General and the heads of the OSCE's autonomous institutions.

Malta's appointment as Chairperson came after Russia denied the Chairmanship to Estonia, a NATO member state. This move reflects the ongoing confrontation between Moscow and Washington and their allies since the beginning of the war and illustrates the challenges the OSCE faces in the current geopolitical landscape.