Belarus and Russia oppose Estonia's OSCE chairmanship

OSCE. Source: SCANPIX/AP Photo/Heinz-Peter Bader

Estonia should come to hold the OSCE chairmanship in 2024, which Russia and Belarus oppose. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto has warned that the OSCE could cease to exist as an organization.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) faces a crisis over the next six months because Russia and Belarus are reluctant to approve Estonia's chairmanship of the organization in 2024. OSCE rules say that the rotating chairmanship needs to be approved by all members. Estonia does not want to give up its chairmanship.

Current Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that the organization could cease to exist without a chairmanship and consensus in 2024. After Estonia, the chairmanship should move to Finland, Yle reported.

OSCE chairmanship was held by Poland in 2022 and is currently in the hands of North Macedonia. The organization's work is curated by the contributing country's foreign minister. Today, Foreign Minister of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani.

OSCE wrapped up its observation mission in Ukraine following opposition from Russia in April, 2022. The mission started in 2014 after Russia and separatist forces it backed launched military activity in Eastern Ukraine. It was the only international organization to have a mission where the conflict was happening.

In 1993, OSCE launched its Estonia mission the goal of which was to promote integration and better mutual understanding between communities. Then High Commissioner on National Minorities of the OSCE Max van der Stoel's criticism of how Estonia and Latvia treated national minorities created some polemic at the time.

The OSCE is the successor of the 1973-1975 Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) made up of European democracies, USA, Canada, former Soviet Bloc countries and those created after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The organization was renamed OSCE in Budapest in 1994.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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