Ignazio Cassis represents Switzerland at the OSCE Ministerial Council

29 November 2023 10:05

SEC

Bern/Skopje - At the annual Ministerial Council meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on 29 November, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis spoke in favour of the OSCE remaining capable of taking action. For Switzerland, the OSCE is central to security in Europe.

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis will seek to emphasise the important role of the OSCE for security in Europe at its annual Ministerial Council, which takes place from 29 November to 1 December in the North Macedonian capital Skopje. According to a statement, the OSCE also facilitates dialogue with non-like-minded states in the region and has instruments at its disposal to prevent conflicts and manage crises.

However, the OSCE has faced major challenges since Russia's military aggression against Ukraine. As the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) explains in the statement, it constitutes a serious breach of international law and the OSCE’s founding document, the Helsinki Final Act. The war has eroded trust among the participating states, says the OSCE. Important decisions within the OSCE are often not reached because the necessary unanimity is lacking.

This lack of ability to agree also impacted the question of which country would take over the presidency next year. According to the FDFA, an important preliminary decision was made shortly before the Ministerial Council meeting: Malta will chair the OSCE in 2024. Switzerland welcomed this decision. However, the Ministerial Council must now endorse this decision, as well as decide on extending the mandates of key officials, an issue on which opinions still differ. According to the press release, Ignazio Cassis will advocate an extension. ce/mm

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