Baltic foreign ministers boycott OSCE meeting to be attended by Russia's Lavrov

Baltic foreign ministers boycott OSCE meeting to be attended by Russia's Lavrov
Sergei Lavrov pins an award on Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó of Hungary, the only EU country that continues to regularly meet Russian officials. / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews November 29, 2023

The foreign ministers of the Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia – have decided to boycott the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) meeting in Skopje, the capital of Northern Macedonia, on November 30 as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been invited to attend it,, the website of Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT, reported on November 28. Ukraine is also boycotting the OSCE meeting.

North Macedonia has decided to temporarily suspend Western sanctions on Kremlin regime officials, allowing Lavrov to fly into the Nato member state. He has also been allowed to cross the airspace of another Nato member, Bulgaria, during his flight.

Russia is one of the 57 members of the OSCE, an organisation founded during the Cold War to defuse tensions between the Western and Eastern blocs. Last week, North Macedonia, which now holds the organisation’s presidency, invited Lavrov to attend a meeting.

“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,” reads the statement by the three Baltic ministers.

“S. Lavrov’s attendance at the OSCE Ministerial Council also risks legitimising aggressor Russia as a rightful member of our community of free nations, trivialising the atrocious crimes Russia has been committing, and putting up with Russia’s blatant violation and contempt of the OSCE fundamental principles and commitments,” they added. “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 ministers, Gabrielius Landsbergis of Lithuania, Krisjans Karins of Lavia and Margus Tsahkna of Estonia, stressed that in the last two years since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine, “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 organisation alive and functional”, said.