Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani Visits Vienna

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: September 1, 2022; 20:29 ♦ Updated: January 20, 2023; 12:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Foreign Minister of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, met in Vienna with the Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, as well as with the OSCE leadership, as North Macedonia will assume the OSCE Chairmanship for 2023.

Bujar Osmani, incoming 2023 OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, outlined the priorities of his country’s 2023 OSCE Chairmanship in his address to the Permanent Council. / Picture: © OSCE / Micky Kroell (CC BY-ND 4.0)

The main reason for the visit of Foreign Minister Osmani are the preparations for the Macedonian chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for the year 2023.

Therefore, Bujar Osmani himself, incoming 2023 OSCE Chairman-in-Office, outlined the priorities of his country’s 2023 OSCE Chairmanship in his address to the Permanent Council today. North Macedonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani said it is essential to restore mutual trust and confidence in the OSCE, and to show the political will to reengage in dialogue on widely shared security concerns.

The Minister briefed the Ambassadors in the Permanent Council on priority goals and forecasts for the Chairmanship and focused on the current challenges in the OSCE region. The Macedonian Chairmanship of the OSCE will be marked above all by the Russian war in Ukraine and a new divided Europe, to which a new Cold War is not only threatening but is already happening. Osmani himself confirmed this, stating that Russian aggression against Ukraine and the OSCE's role in reducing the far-reaching consequences of the crisis will inevitably occupy a central place on the OSCE agenda in 2023.

The Minister pointed out that the preliminary priority objectives are consistent with the principles and commitments of the Organization and that they have multiple purposes. According to Osmani, "to reflect our interests, to reflect the continuity of the OSCE's regular priorities, but also to correspond and respond to today's complex geopolitical constellation of circumstances." In this sense, Osmani cited energy security, food security and water security as issues that are pushing their way onto the OSCE agenda.

" If we do not discuss these or similar challenges, there is a risk that they will become permanent, additional sources of conflict,", Minister Osmani stressed.

According to Minister Osmani, the Chairmanship will focus on implementing all commitments made by all participating States and rebuilding stability by restoring dialogue to fulfill the OSCE's mandate.

Conflict prevention and management will remain a high priority in the political-military dimension of security. A key focus of the incoming Chairmanship will be protracted conflicts, their by-products, and incremental progress toward peace.

“Ukraine will remain our highest priority. However, 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,” said Osmani.

His first dimension priorities also included border management, hybrid and cyber threats, and women, peace, and security.

Foreign Minister Schallenberg received his Macedonian counterpart, Bujar Osmani

Important topics in the talks between the two foreign ministers were Macedonia's EU accession negotiations and the status of EU enlargement in the other Western Balkan states. The impact of the Russian war of aggression, the upcoming OSCE chairmanship of North Macedonia, and illegal migration along the Balkan route were also on the agenda.

North Macedonia is considered one of the flagship countries of EU rapprochement in the Western Balkans. The start of formal EU accession negotiations on 19 July 2022 sent an important signal for the region and the credibility of the EU's enlargement policy. In the talks, Foreign Minister Schallenberg emphasized that further steps must now follow quickly to be able to move on to the next phase of negotiations.

The two foreign ministers also discussed the impact of Russia's war of aggression on North Macedonia and the entire Western Balkans. North Macedonia, as Chair of OSCE, is taking a key role in the most critical phase of the OSCE since the Cold War. The Austrian Foreign Ministry made this clear. after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, North Macedonia took an unambiguous position, for example, fully supported the EU sanctions and thus repeatedly proved to be part of the European community of values. This clear positioning also strengthens the already close economic, political and human bilateral partnership between Austria and North Macedonia.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. stressed, "Given the Russian destabilization potential in the Western Balkans, we can no longer lose time and must therefore quickly follow up the announcements we made in Thessaloniki almost 20 years ago. As the EU, we hold North Macedonia to our word."

Another topic of the working meeting was illegal migration along the Balkan route. In this context, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg expressed his gratitude for the good cooperation with North Macedonia and discussed further possibilities of cooperation.


Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

BMEIA Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs