Lajcak: Slovakia Taking Over OSCE Presidency with Crisis on Doorstep

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Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (stock photo by TASR)
Vienna/Bratislava, January 10 (TASR-correspondent) – For the first time Slovakia is presiding over a multilateral organisation with a crisis on its doorstep; for the first time it will manage an international organisation with such great uncertainty about the future and at a time when multilateralism is in danger, said Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (a Smer-SD nominee) on Thursday.

Lajcak was in Vienna to present the priorities of the Slovak presidency of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for 2019.
Lajcak pointed out that it’s less than 60 kilometres from Vienna to Bratislava, and then only around 380 kilometres from Bratislava to the border with Ukraine, which is in an armed conflict with Russia.
“And what’s happening there – in Ukraine and its surroundings – is simply unacceptable. I can assure you that Slovakia feels the urgency of this matter,” said the head of Slovak diplomacy at the first annual meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, which is also the first under Slovak leadership. According to Lajcak, the challenges that the OSCE region and wider world are facing require more cooperation and dialogue than ever before.
The first thing that Slovakia wants to aim at within the OSCE is to prevent and mitigate the consequences of conflicts. The main cause for concern is, among other frozen conflicts, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the illegal occupation of Crimea and the situation in the Kerch Strait. “It’s a bleak situation, there’s no doubt about it, but condemnation won’t change anything by itself,” said Lajcak.
The second priority of the Slovak OSCE presidency is a secure future. “The truth is that we don’t know what the future will bring. We’re still uncertain as to what role communications technology, artificial intelligence and energy innovation in our security environment will play between now and the future,” said Lajcak.
According to Lajcak, the third priority is effective multilateralism. The current international challenges – from terrorism to climate change – can be resolved only through cooperation. At the moment, however, we’re witnesses to the fact that multilateral systems are threatened. Lajcak stressed, therefore, that lessons learnt from history, which state that compromise and cooperation are the only way forward, mustn’t be ignored. In this context, the acting OSCE chief called for the re-establishment of multilateralism through specific steps.
Slovakia took over the OSCE presidency from Italy on January 1. In the coming 12 months it will act in the name of the entire organisation. The Slovak Government approved the three main priorities of the Slovak OSCE presidency on December 19, with the presidency’s headline slogan being: ‘A Presidency Focused on People’.