Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have refused to participate in the work of the OSCE Ministerial Council due to the presence of the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov
The foreign ministers of the Baltic countries announced on Tuesday, November 28, that they will not participate in the meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Skopje at the end of the week, where the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be present.
This decision was conveyed in a joint statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.
"We deeply regret the decision enabling the personal participation of Russian Foreign Minister S. Lavrov at the 30th Session of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Skopje. It will only provide Russia with yet another propaganda opportunity. S. Lavrov’s attendance at the OSCE Ministerial also risks legitimizing aggressor Russia as a rightful member of our community of free nations, trivializing the atrocious crimes Russia has been committing, and putting up with Russia’s blatant violation and contempt of the OSCE fundamental principles and commitments. We, the Ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, will not be part of this and will not share responsibility for consequences it will create," the statement said.
The foreign ministers emphasized that Russia's aggressive war and atrocities against Ukraine violate international law, including the UN Charter, and undermine the fundamental principles of the OSCE.
"We have also seen nothing but Russia’s obstructive behavior within the OSCE itself – first, by blocking any OSCE presence and activities in Ukraine, then by blocking Estonia’s 2024 chairmanship on completely fabricated reasons and now by blocking constructive solutions for keeping the organization alive and functional," emphasized the foreign ministers.
Representatives of the Baltic countries insist that an immediate and unconditional cessation of aggression, withdrawal of Russian troops from occupied territories, compensation for damages, and holding those responsible accountable are urgently needed. None of this has been achieved so far. There are also no signs that Russia even considers complying with its international obligations and OSCE principles.
"The OSCE was created to rebuild European security, prevent conflicts and maintain peace. With its unlawful and brutal actions, Russia has repeatedly proved that it is not a security partner for Europe. In reality, Europe currently needs defence from and against Russia. That is why we, the Foreign Ministers of the Baltic States, decided not to attend the OSCE Ministerial Council in Skopje. We remain ready to work with partners and participating States in upholding the OSCE principles, and against Russia’s aggression and the ideology behind it," the statement emphasizes.
Commenting on the statement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Urmas Reinsalu, condemned the decision to allow the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to participate in the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Skopje.
"Russia is using this opportunity to spread its propaganda and weaken Western unity. The fact is that during the OSCE meeting in Skopje, the Russian war machine is killing innocent Ukrainians and deporting children without blinking an eye. Lavrov's participation diminishes the heinous crimes that Russia continues to commit. Estonia cannot sit at the table with the aggressor and bear responsibility for the consequences that Lavrov's participation may lead to. This contradicts our fundamental principles," said the minister.
"Lavrov belongs at a special tribunal for war crimes instead of the OSCE table." he concluded.