“Taking over the OSCE Chair is a truly historic moment for Albania: from a country under a cruel communist regime that opposed the Helsinki spirit, we have become one honored to lead this organization. Chairing the OSCE marks the highlight of our significant transformation,” said Prime Minister and Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Edi Rama today as he assumed the post of Chairperson-in-Office of the regional security organization.
“Our vision for the 2020 Albanian Chair of the OSCE is guided by three important objectives: focusing on the basics by implementing together, in good faith, the encompassing set of our political commitments; making a difference on the ground, be it when preventing the escalation of a conflict, monitoring elections or supporting reforms, or improving the security and prosperity of our citizens; and continuing to strengthen the dialogue inspired by the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Paris,” said Rama.
The Albanian Chair’s priorities run across all three dimensions of the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security. Rama highlighted today some of the key issues that will feature on its agenda.
“The crisis in and around Ukraine remains the most pressing security challenge in Europe”, Rama said. “Conflict resolution efforts will be on top of the agenda of the Albanian Chair, as it is unacceptable that protracted conflicts in our region continue to claim lives. The OSCE has proven to be an organization that not only can deploy quickly in conflict areas, but, sometimes, can do so where no one else can.“
“Women continue to suffer most from instability and conflict. They are also unjustly excluded from peace talks. That is why we will focus both on combating violence against women and on promoting the role of women in peace and security. On this topic, we bring a positive legacy. Half of my cabinet ministers are women, a third of the members of the Albanian Parliament are women and Albania ranks among the top five in the world for women’s participation in government and high worldwide for the number of women in public affairs,” stressed the new Chairperson-in-Office.
Corruption, noted Rama, erodes the foundations of our democracies and has an adverse impact on the prosperity and security of our region, along with transnational threats. Building on the momentum created by previous Chairs, we will enhance the work of the OSCE in combating corruption and promoting good governance.
The Chairperson-in-Office stated: “Trafficking in human beings is not just simply a security risk, but also a serious human rights violation. As the OSCE is widely recognized a global leader in combating human trafficking, in 2020 we will continue to champion the OSCE’s activity in this area.”
“Last, intolerance and hate speech are spreading in Europe,” noted Rama. “We must intensify our efforts to counter discrimination and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The new Chairperson-in-Office emphasized that the Helsinki recipe for peace in Europe is simple yet effective: implementation of all the Helsinki Principles, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. “If we want security and peace in Europe”, he said, “we all have to take responsibility for fully implementing our commitments. This is essential for the credibility of the OSCE as the largest regional security organization, and for all its participating States, and the only way to rebuild trust between us. Promoting confidence-building measures and making full use of the Structured Dialogue are also critical to this endeavor.”
Rama concluded: “I believe we have crafted a realistic and balanced program, in extensive consultations with capitals and in Vienna. Throughout next year, Albania will be an open and inclusive Chair. I can guarantee you that the voices of each participating State will be heard and that decisions will be taken in a transparent manner, supporting our shared values and principles. Our success will be the success of all 57 participating States.”