During the Council sessions, the participants took stock of Sweden’s chairmanship, which is coming to an end, and discussed the current security situation in the OSCE region. One of the topics raised during the dinner on 1 December was the attempt to find a balance between the OSCE consensus rule and the efficiency of decision-making. Minister Rau stressed the need to base dialogue within the OSCE on international law and the existing mechanisms within the Organization.
On Thursday, 2 December, after the opening session with the participation of current OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Margareta Cederfelt, and OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid, Minister Rau delivered an address in which he thanked the Swedish partners for chairing the Organization this year. He pointed to the greatest challenges currently facing OSCE countries and outlined the parameters and values Poland will be guided by during its chairmanship.
The head of Polish diplomacy underscored that the priority of Poland’s OSCE chairmanship will be to actively prevent and mitigate conflicts and crisis situations.
During a working lunch, the ministers discussed the present developments in Afghanistan and their impact on the security situation in the OSCE area. Minister Rau emphasised that the key issue is to counter terrorism, illegal migration and trafficking of weapons and drugs from Afghanistan. In Minister Rau’s opinion, the OSCE should focus its efforts on strengthening the resilience of Central Asia countries that are members of the OSCE and host the Organization’s missions, as they are especially vulnerable to threats from Afghanistan.
On the sidelines of the Ministerial Council, Minister Zbigniew Rau also held a series of bilateral meetings. He talked with the OSCE Secretary General and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly, as well as with his counterparts from Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan. The head of the Polish MFA also met with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of Belarusian democratic opposition. Moreover, he took part in consultations with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
The Ministerial Council is the biggest and most important event in the OSCE calendar. The annual meeting gives the foreign ministers of OSCE participating States an opportunity to review and asses the Organization’s activities and to enhance dialogue within OSCE commitments. On 1 January 2022, Poland will take over the OSCE chair from Sweden. Minister Zbigniew Rau will officially inaugurate our chairmanship and outline its priorities at the session of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on 13 January 2022. Poland will cooperate within the so-called OSCE Troika with the previous and succeeding chairmanships – Sweden and North Macedonia respectively.