Albania’s Cakaj explains OSCE’s Chairmanship’s priorities

Albania’s Cakaj explains OSCE’s Chairmanship’s priorities

“Albania will assume the 2020 OSCE Chairmanship inspired by a sense of responsibility and driven by the determination to contribute to the security and stability of our continent and to the prosperity of our people.” said the country’s Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj in Vienna today, as he addressed the Permanent Council on the incoming Chair’s priorities.

Expressing hope that 2020 will be a year of progress towards peace, Cakaj stressed that the Albanian Chair’s priorities run across all three dimensions of the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security. In the first, political-military dimension, the crisis in and around Ukraine remains the most pressing challenge, but addressing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the consequences of the 2008 conflict in Georgia and the Transdniestrian Settlement Process will also feature high on its agenda.

Cakaj said: “Conflict resolution and conflict prevention efforts will be on top of the Albanian Chair’s agenda, beginning with renewed actions to contribute towards a peaceful solution of the crisis in and around Ukraine, which remains the most pressing security challenge in Europe. While we welcome recent positive developments, such as the completion of disengagement near Stanytsia Luhanska – which shows once again that progress is possible if there is political will – we remain worried by the number of ceasefire violations and by the frequency of threats against OSCE monitors. As a country hosting an OSCE field operation, Albania will strongly support the action of the OSCE on the ground, starting from the unique contribution to peace and stability made by the staff of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.”

“Particular attention will be given to the role of women in peace processes,” said the Acting Minister. “The Albanian Chairmanship will focus on the worrying reality that women continue to be disproportionally affected by conflicts in the OSCE area.  On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, Albania will work towards promoting the role of women in conflict resolution and peace processes. But the situation of women is of concern not only in conflict areas: we need to intensify our efforts to ensure a safer and prosperous future for all women and girls in our region.”

The Albanian OSCE Chair will also prioritize the revitalization of dialogue within the Organization. “Inspired by the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, in co-ordination with the Chairs of the Forum for Security Co-operation, Albania will promote existing CSBMs and arms control regimes. The Structured Dialogue remains an innovative and complementary forum for exchanges among participating States: the Albanian Chair looks forward to using its full potential to increase trust and lay the ground for further OSCE achievements,” said Cakaj.

“In addressing transnational threats, the 2020 Chair will promote reinforced efforts on countering violent extremism and radicalization that leads to terrorism, paying particular attention to the issue of returning foreign terrorist fighters and their families. While addressing emerging challenges, such as cyber/ICT security, we will also tackle traditional ones, such as organized crime. The fight against all forms of trafficking will also be high on the 2020 agenda. Mindful of its cross dimensional nature, the incoming Chair will pay particular attention to promoting the adoption and implementation of measures to combat trafficking in human beings, with a focus on new technologies.”

In the second, economic and environmental dimension, the fight against corruption and the promotion of good governance will be prioritized. “Corruption erodes the foundations of trust between citizens and the state. It is a major obstacle to economic growth and fuels inequality, impunity, and instability,” stated the Acting Minister.

In the human dimension, the Albanian Chair will dedicate resources and efforts to promote tolerance and non-discrimination in order to foster a stronger sense of security in OSCE participating States.

Acting Minister Cakaj also highlighted the importance of the Mediterranean region in tackling many security challenges. “As recognized most recently in Milan, our security is indivisible from that of the Mediterranean region. Many of our common challenges and opportunities stem from the South. That is why a renewed, strategic partnership with our Partners for Co-operation in the Mediterranean is essential,” said Cakaj.

“To best assist participating States in meeting OSCE commitments, we will strive to be honest brokers among participating States. We will do so with a spirit of service and by strictly adhering to all norms and commitments that are binding upon the OSCE Chair,” concluded the Acting Minister.

Albania will take over the OSCE Chair from Slovakia on 1 January 2020.