Last Updated on Friday, 26 January, 2024 at 11:31 am by Andre Camilleri
The OSCE Chair-in-Office, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade of Malta Ian Borg, presented the country’s vision for its 2024 Chairpersonship at the inaugural session of the OSCE Permanent Council on Thursday.
“The trust bestowed upon us by all participating States during these challenging times is a responsibility we embrace with profound commitment, humility, and pride – fully mindful of the critical juncture at which we assume this role,” said Chair-in-Office Borg.
Under the motto ‘Strengthening Resilience, Enhancing Security’, Chair-in-Office Borg emphasized Malta’s commitment to upholding the principles and commitments outlined in the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris, stressing that these are not optional but shared obligations agreed upon by all the participating States of the OSCE, a statement issued on the OSCE’s website reads.
The first priority outlined by the Maltese Chairpersonship is its unequivocal commitment to addressing Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, the statement read.
“Borg condemned the intensified attacks witnessed earlier in the month and in recent days, and underlined that the protection of all civilians must be of paramount importance. He called for Russia’s immediate withdrawal from the entire territory of Ukraine. He called on participating States to do everything possible to break the chain of violence, anguish, and suffering, not only in this war but in conflicts around the world,” the OSCE website’s statement read.
“I join the Secretary General in her call for the release of the three illegally detained staff members of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission” emphasised Minister Borg.
“The OSCE has a pivotal role to play in Ukraine. We commend the important work of the Support Programme for Ukraine and pledge our support for even more engagement,” added Minister Borg as he announced his plans to visit Kyiv to reiterate the steadfast support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Borg outlined Malta’s commitment to facilitating dialogue towards finding durable and sustainable political solutions to other conflicts across the OSCE region, particularly in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus, the OSCE’s statement continued. The Chair-in-Office also pledged support for the OSCE’s field operations in Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, “by sustaining their engagement with host authorities in line with OSCE principles and commitments and supporting their work in the field to strengthen national capacities and capabilities.”
Safeguarding the OSCE’s functionality and finding solutions for its leadership is another key priority, it was said. “We count on the collaboration of all participating States to demonstrate the necessary political will to give this Organization the foundations it needs for a secure and resilient future,” Borg said.
The Chair-in-Office emphasized Malta’s readiness to serve as a bridge between Skopje and Helsinki, “reinforcing the pillars of the Organization and upholding its principles and commitments.” Minister Borg called on all participating States to demonstrate the necessary political will to reach a consensus on a Unified Budget and ensuring predictable leadership beyond 4 September 2024, the OSCE website’s statement reads.
“Malta’s Chairpersonship aims to build on North Macedonia’s success in keeping the over one billion people in the OSCE region at the centre of this Organization’s initiatives. Malta’s goal is to adopt an inclusive approach by mainstreaming gender and increasing the meaningful engagement of youth in discussions,” the statement read.
Borg underlined that Malta’s “parallel Chairpersonship of the OSCE and elected membership of the UN Security Council provides a unique opportunity to identify constructive synergies between these multilateral institutions dedicated to promoting peace and security.”
Against this backdrop, Malta aims to focus on the Women, Peace, and Security agenda and to renew the OSCE’s initiatives against cyber threats, transnational challenges and ensuring compliance with arms control commitments, the statement on the OSCE’s website read.
“Recognizing the interconnectedness of security, economic prosperity, and the environment, Malta will emphasize bridging digital divides, promoting access to digital technologies, and co-operating on climate resilience, combatting corruption and food security,” it continues.
“The Chair-in-Office called on participating States to uphold human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy, and the rule of law, especially in the important election year ahead,” the website also said. The Chair-in-Office added that “at a time when media freedom is more under threat than ever before, Malta’s Chairpersonship will push forward initiatives on media literacy and the safety of journalists, particularly female journalists, both online and offline”. Furthermore, Malta will actively engage in combating violence against women and trafficking in human beings, a statement on the website reads.
In his concluding remarks, Borg affirmed that Malta “will leave no stone unturned in strengthening the resilience of this Organization and our people, in pursuit of a secure and peaceful future.”