The Representatives to the OSCE of the France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and United States visited North Macedonia on 6 February as part of a regional tour of the Western Balkans.
In Skopje, Ambassador Stefano Baldi (Italy), Ambassador Gesa Braeutigam (Germany), Ambassador Neil Bush (United Kingdom), Ambassador Michael Carpenter (United States), and Ambassador Christine Fages (France) participated in the 2023 Conference on Addressing Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Region to draw attention to and address the root causes of this growing problem. Separately, they consulted with senior government leaders to discuss the important role of the OSCE amid the current unprecedented challenges to regional security stemming from Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
In meetings with President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski, Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski, Defense Minister Slavjanka Petrovska, and 2023 OSCE Chair-in-Office and Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani, they discussed close cooperation with the government and people of North Macedonia in countering Russia’s war against Ukraine and efforts to wield malign influence in the Western Balkans. The ambassadors underscored that the OSCE can play a crucial role in helping North Macedonia achieve its reform objectives, implement its OSCE commitments, build resilience against security challenges, and energize peace processes to resolve protracted conflicts in the region. Reaffirming the values that unite the partnership, the ambassadors said, “North Macedonia is an outstanding ally and a vibrant multiethnic democracy that has made great strides in recent years to advance its EU and Euro-Atlantic integration and is therefore well placed to chair the OSCE at this critical time for European security. We fully support the agenda of North Macedonia’s OSCE Chairpersonship to advance peace, prosperity, and human rights for the benefit of the one billion citizens of the OSCE region.”
The leadership of the OSCE Mission to Skopje briefed the group on the Mission’s ongoing activities and projects in partnership with the government and people of North Macedonia. The ambassadors also met with a wide range of civil society representatives to discuss the impact of the OSCE’s activities on their work and the current challenges and opportunities they face.