Malta’s has been recommended and is set to chair the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Permanent Council for 2024. This would be the first time for Malta to hold such a role.
Malta’s recommendation came about after Russia’s refusal to approve Estonia for the role, even though it had launched a bid to chair three years prior.
The OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organisation brings together 57 states from Europe, Central Asia and North America.
The organisation covers a wide range of security issues such as conflict prevention to fostering economic development, ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources and “promoting the full respect” of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Although Malta was recommended, foreign ministers from the member countries will decide Malta’s fate on Thursday, during a meeting in Macedonia, the country that presently chairs the OSCE.
But what does this Chairmanship mean for Malta?
Every year, a different state holds the OSCE Chairmanship, which in turn includes the country’s Foreign Minister acting as Chairperson-in office (CiO).
The responsibilities of the Chairperson-in-office is to take a lead in conflict prevention, resolution and rehabilitation in the OSCE region, taking up direct contact with parties concerned and arranging or conducting settlement negotiations.
Prime Minster meets with OSCE Secretary General
In the meantime, Prime Minister Robert Abela met with Helga Schmid Secretary General of the OSCE. He expressed his sincere gratitude for the trust shown towards Malta by the OSCE participating States to take the helm of the organisation in 2024.
He also congratulated the Secretary General for leading the organisation through turbulent times, whilst expressing Malta’s support towards the renewal of her mandate, along with the incumbency renewal of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the OSCE Representative on the Freedom of the Media, and the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities.
During the meeting, they also held an exchange on the ongoing conflicts in the region, particularly Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
Dr Abela commended the OSCE’s work in Ukraine through the initiatives of the Support Programme for Ukraine and expressed Malta’s readiness to support this initiative through a financial contribution to the Support Programme.
He also expressed Malta’s support for the upcoming preparations for the 50th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act in 2025, and for the hosting of the OSCE Mediterranean Conference 2024, in Malta.
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Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri notes that education and awareness are the best tools to combat such threats