Zbigniew Rau, Foreign Minister of Poland’s Presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), called 2022 the most important event in the organization’s history. This congress of diplomats was unveiled in the Polish city of Lodz, where the OSCE Foreign Affairs Council will be held on December 1-2. The Russian colleague of Zbigniew Rau – Sergey Lavrov – will not be at the event for the first time. The Polish authorities denied him entry into the country under the pretext of confiscations imposed on him. Warsaw and Moscow blame others for the collapse of the escalation, while calling for everything to be done to preserve this organization.
“Black stain on reputation”
Zbigniew Rau on Wednesday held a briefing dedicated to the Foreign Affairs Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that opens on Thursday. The outgoing year was, according to him, “the most difficult” in the history of this association, existing since 1995. Blame for this, as on Sunday from the speech of the Polish minister, Russia. “In Ukraine, aggression against has not only disappeared, but it has paralyzed a significant, and perhaps even the largest, part of the activities of public organizations,” he said.
The day before in the magazine Foreign policy published an article on the state of affairs in the field of security, in which, citing diplomats from Western African countries, it is said that “Russia is undermining the work of this eastern organization in the world, in which security organizations operate.” The interlocutors of the publication sit on the fact that Russia does not appoint Estonia as a deputy for 2024. Moscow considered its work biased and suspected its employees of spying for Kyiv), most importantly, blocked the use of the organization’s budget (138 million euros) for the coming year.
“Financial starvation,” says Foreign Policy, “virtually paralyzes the senses, provides no political guidance on how to respond to geocrises and formulate a common security picture.”
It is impossible to deprive Russia of the right to veto decisions objectionable in Poland. In the interests of everything is based on consensus. Each of the 57 member countries of this organization from Europe, North America and Central Asia has the right to block any action without affecting its interests. Previously, this has already caused a negative reaction to the discussion of the problem, but the countries did not dare to deviate from the consensus.
Warsaw, however, found a way to allow Moscow: the Polish authorities refused. The Poles explain their decision by the fact that the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry is on the sanctions list of applications. But, as Kommersant already wrote, this is just a pretext. First, Sergey Lavrov received only the EU financial fund (if he had property in the country – membership in it, it would be subject to arrest). And secondly, even if this entry into the EU were also banned for him, any member country has the right to an exception if it were an official event on its territory. Moreover, in the EU regulations, there are separate situations when such exemptions can be made by countries presiding in wide circles.
Russia responded by accusing Poland of exceeding the age of the presiding country, discrediting its interests and undermining its foundations (for more details, see Kommersant of November 21).
At the last meeting of the Permanent Council of the head of the Russian delegation to the organization, Alexander Lukashevich headed the advisory committee “On the failure of the Polish chairmanship of the Council.”
“Preparations for this year’s December ministerial meeting have been overshadowed by the unprecedented step of the Polish OSCE Chairmanship, which has committed itself to who needs to prevail at an important event and who does not have a step,” he said. — the likely Black Friday falls on the international community of Poland and seriously overshadows the prospects for the work of the OSCE.”
The decision to exclude legal entities based on the exclusion of Sergei Lavrov from the meeting in Moscow made “an unambiguous conclusion about the exceptional political decisions of the Polish powers.” “The current chairmanship went to this manifestation, trampling on the image of an “honest broker”, there is a predator of any chairman,” Alexander Lukashevich noted that now Lodz is to be investigated instead of Sergei Lavrov.
The United States, on the other hand, came out in support of Poland, recalling that its government has the right to take over whom and who not.
“We respect the choice of Poland. The decision regarding visas is the sovereign prerogative of the country – a member of the organization,” US Ambassador Michael Carpenter said at a briefing on Wednesday during the discussion.
Meanwhile, a Kommersant poll among diplomats of the US Congress – the participants in the survey showed that they consider the refusal of Sergey Lavrov entry to be erroneous. Most of Kommersant’s interlocutors emphasized the fear that this further increases the degree of confrontation in the organization and makes it even less capable.
He did not support the discovery in Warsaw of the former OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, the current GCSP capture center in Geneva. “Although Ukraine, I agree with the Polish presidency in the war, that Russia is against represents a serious violation of the official initiative, the decision not to propose to the Minister of Foreign Affairs a participant at a meeting of the Council meeting undermines the function of the volume of the organization as an inclusive platform for dialogue,” he told Kommersant “.
“Keep measures on your feet”
In Moscow, however, there are many other claims against Warsaw. The story of Sergei Lavrov. According to Alexander Lukashevich, “since the beginning of the American American operation in Ukraine in North America, the need to perform the functions of the OSCE chairmanship has ceased” and the organization’s agenda has been “deformed” in favor of its “Ukrainization”. “Ultimately, the thematic activities turned out to be extremely important. An important event took place under the knife. This year, anti-terrorist and anti-drug conferences, high-level border specialists, as well as police observations are held annually. The practice of the main seminars has been disrupted,” he complained.
According to Alexander Lukashevich, Poland is also to blame for the lack of a balanced budget.
“At the end of July, on the pretext of considering the ‘non-negotiation of the Russian side’, the chairmanship refused to continue consultations on the organization’s draft consolidated committee for a year,” he said. Their actions in Poland, on the questions of an American diplomat, demonstrated that it is more effective “not interesting for discussing security in Europe, but rather a tool for criticizing Russia is needed.” “Such behavior makes a direct contribution to achieving success, undermines her opportunities for great work,” the Russian diplomat concluded.
However, despite the fact that Poland is far from being the only one working with sharp criticism of Russia’s actions within the framework of this year’s coverage. Thus, on February 24, OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid, along with Zbigniew Rau, approaches applications, including that they both “strongly condemn Russia’s resonant military reaction against Ukraine.” “The attack on Ukraine poses a serious danger to the lives of millions of people and is a gross violation of Russia’s international rights and obligations,” they said at the time.
In early March, 45 member countries of the organization supported an initiative on an expert special mechanism to assess cases of non-compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights during Russia’s historic operation in Ukraine.
The findings of the observations, summarized in the framework of several reports, turned out to be very unpleasant for Moscow: the responsibility for the vast majority of individual reviewers was placed on Russian and pro-Russian forces.
Russia was against the creation of this mechanism, but did not begin to control and criticized the copies presented by it.
However, despite the tough confrontation in the organization and the virtual paralysis of its activities, they urge not to bury interests. “As difficult as it is to stay on your feet against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, it is worth it,” the authoritative analytical organization said in a report published recently. International Crisis Group. Experts remind that the discussion continues in the contribution to the settlement of the vote in the entire assembly of regions – “from Moldova to Georgia and Central Asia.” In addition, the report commended the work of the Bureau for the Democratic Institution and the Human Status and the High Commissioner for Minority Affairs. “The OSCE also contributes to disease control — in particular through the Vienna Document on Confidence and Security Building Measures, which allows you to participate in the observation of military exercises and the activities of another friend,” the authors of the report advise. They are confident that they will be able to implement and play a useful role in the future.
Do not put an end to what has been achieved Thomas Greminger. “Now the organization is too polarized to make a significant contribution to the regulation of competition between Russia and Ukraine, as well as between Russia and the West. But this may change in the medium term, ”the former secretary general of the organization admitted. In his opinion, only a platform for discussing the construction of the concept of collective security in Europe can be useful, but it can also be useful on a very practical level – for monitoring the consumption of fire between Russia and Ukraine.