According to Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna, Estonia will not withdraw its candidacy for the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as a result of Russia's opposition, but will also not oppose North Macedonia's decision to propose Malta to take over the OSCE chairmanship next year.
Formin: Estonia to not stand against Malta becoming OSCE chairman
«A decision on next year's OSCE chairmanship will be made at the end of the week at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Skopje,» Tsahkna was quoted by ministry spokespeople as saying. «Russia's goal is to knock out the OSCE, but we are not going to give Russia the opportunity to destroy the organization. Estonia will not withdraw its candidacy as a result of Russia's opposition, because making concessions to an aggressor who violates all the basic principles of the OSCE is ruled out.»
Tsahkna noted that in a situation where Estonia's candidacy has been definitively blocked and OSCE chairmanship holder North Macedonia has proposed as an alternative solution the appointment of another European Union member state, Malta, as next year's OSCE chairmanship holder together with the extension of the mandates of the heads of the four structural units of the OSCE for one year, Estonia will not oppose this solution.
«We consider it important that in conditions where the aggressor country has vetoed Estonia as the European Union's only candidate, the EU stands firmly behind Estonia. An alternative proposal was made by North Macedonia, whose task as the chairmanship holder is to find a solution to the developed situation. It is important for Estonia that, against the backdrop of Russia's war of aggression, the OSCE 2024 chairmanship maintains the basic principles of the organization and continues to address Russia's aggression and provide comprehensive support to Ukraine,» Tsahkna said.
Isamaa chairman: Estonia should have remained OSCE chairmanship candidate
Former Foreign Minister, Isamaa chairman Urmas Reinsalu said that Estonia should have stuck to its candidacy for the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and should have opened a discussion about not letting the aggressor Russia dictate the chairmanship.
According to Reinsalu, Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said last week that submitting to Russian blackmail is unacceptable. International media wrote that on Monday the OSCE countries reached a consensus and Malta will hold the chairmanship of the organization in 2024. As is known, Estonia was the joint candidate of the European Union for the chairmanship, but Russia opposed this.
According to Reinsalu, the position of the foreign affairs committee of the Riigikogu last week was that Estonia should not withdraw from its candidacy and give in to Russia's demands.
«The prime minister of Malta announced to the public that OSCE member states have agreed by consensus in the Permanent Council on their recommendation that Malta hold the OSCE chairmanship in 2024. As you may remember, Estonia was the European Union's joint candidate for the OSCE chairmanship instead,» Reinsalu said.
According to Reinsalu, the discussion in the foreign affairs committee last week reflected the attitude of the members of the committee regarding this issue, that we should maintain our candidacy and not give in to Russia's veto.
«I asked in the committee that the minister inform the committee about the course of events before the decisions on the Estonian side,» he said, adding that now, however, one can read the news on such a serious issue from Maltese newspapers.
He added that the organization is essentially paralyzed by Russia's veto policy.
«It is shameful that an aggressor country can continue its veto activities in an organization whose goal is to ensure peace and security. Last week, I stated that Estonia should stick to its candidacy and open a discussion on the fact that the aggressor cannot dictate the presidency,» Reinsalu said.
On Tuesday of last week, Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna told the daily Postimees that in a situation where Russia is violating all the basic principles of the OSCE by waging a bloody war of aggression, it is unacceptable to submit to Moscow's demands and blackmail, including the wish that the next chairman of the OSCE not be a NATO ally. Tsahkna added that, rather than looking for solutions that suit Moscow, Russia needs to be completely isolated on the international scene right now.