In these critical times for European security and stability, the Chairpersonship of North Macedonia will strive to manage and prevent conflicts and alleviate suffering by placing the people at the heart of its work, said Bujar Osmani, Foreign Minister of North Macedonia and OSCE Chairman-in-Office, during his address to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna today.
Referring to the hardship caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine, Osmani said: “Those directly exposed to war and conflict suffer the most. Those afar feel the insecurity and uncertainty. Their way of life is at stake. Everyday life is disrupted. They need to be freed from fear of war. Our mutual trust is deeply undermined.”
Expressing hope for the future, Osmani highlighted the Chairpersonship’s motto, ‘It’s About People’, as a driving force for the year ahead. “It’s our duty to react today. For the people. They look for our support.”
He emphasized that safeguarding people’s interests is the OSCE’s obligation and also within its capacity. He underscored that the Organization needs to keep delivering in difficult times and it is up to the 57 participating States of the OSCE to determine if they “have a strong and unequivocal political will to overcome the challenges for the sake of peace, stability and prosperity”.
Despite the challenging geopolitical context, the Organization has “proven its potential”, but needs additional support through adoption of its unified budget, Osmani said. “Principles and commitments shall not be only blank phrases. On the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, history will remember us by our deeds, not by our promises, deliberations and statements. We must translate words into action to ensure OSCE functionality.”
Turning to the coming year, Osmani said the Chairpersonship will continue to put attention on addressing regional instability and the potential for new conflicts. He explained how the Chair will do its part to ensure the OSCE continues its efforts preventing conflict, restoring peace and security, and promoting co-operation. This includes supporting sustainable economic growth and environmental co-operation, as well as upholding human rights and promoting tolerance and non-discrimination.
“On this road, both our successes and failures will be yours too. Today’s hard times require wisdom, accountability for our actions and commitment to the principles of the Helsinki Final Act,” Osmani said. “Let us not fear the future and waste today but work for a better tomorrow. For the future of our Organization. For the future of the people.”