Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has presented the OSCE member states with Albania’s achievements during its annual chairmanship of the organization.
On Thursday, Rama spoke to the online Ministerial Council of the OSCE, the central decision-making and governing body of the institution, which comprises the Foreign Ministers of 57 states.
In his address, Rama stressed the deepening tensions and mistrust in the region, which means that “we are in a crisis, a worsening crisis.” He called on member states to “turn the corner” and overcome the current crisis in cooperation.
“We supposedly have a shared vision — created in Helsinki and continued in Paris, Istanbul and Astana — for a democratic, peaceful and united Europe,” he said. “That vision is moving further away from us. Because our principles are not respected. Because our commitments are not implemented. Because the divergence in our views is growing. Because unilateral is too often chosen over international. Because confrontation is chosen over conversation. And because disruption is chosen over co-operation.”
Rama brought to attention his perceived scepticism of some OSCE member states when Albania took over the chairmanship. “The odds became even worse” with the pandemic, he added. He noted the extraordinary and unprecedented consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide and in chairing the OSCE.
“There is a brighter future ahead, and we can — and will – take bold and concerted measures to build back better,” he said.
Rama pointed at the increased budget for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission during Albania’s chairmanship, which he said was an important progress that not everyone can realize.
He said he was proud of his team’s work, making the OSCE the first body to implement new ways of working and quickly transitioning to hold discussions and take decisions online. Other international bodies like the UN followed.
Rama pointed at the “unprecedented, low levels of ceasefire violations” in Ukraine as another success, but lamented the humanitarian crisis there.
The OSCE Chair-in-Person said he was thankful that the fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has ceased, and expressed support for future related initiatives.
Speaking of the situation in Belarus, Rama said he was disappointed that his offer to facilitate dialogue between parties there was refused by Lukashenko.
“I maintain my view that the OSCE, as an inclusive organization, remains well-placed and ready to volunteer its good offices to support Belarus. I hope Belarus reconsiders our offer,” he said.
Rama highlighted that Albania “had to steer the OSCE ship in particularly turbulent times”, and called on the next chairs, Sweden and Poland, to “use Tirana as an opportunity to turn a corner,” and get the organization back to full power.
Albania took over the OSCE Chairmanship in January 2020, and will pass it over to Sweden for the next year.