Representing the Council of Europe at the 30th OSCE Ministerial Council in Skopje, North Macedonia, Deputy Secretary General Bjørn Berge congratulated the Chairpersonship for their leadership through yet another difficult year.
The Deputy Secretary General took part, together with several ministers, in a crucial side event organised in the margins of the Ministerial Meeting by Ambassador Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the OSCE, and the Ukrainian NGO Media Initiative for Human Rights. The event addressed Russia’s accountability for war crimes and violations of fundamental human rights, including as to what concerns the abduction of Ukrainian children and the treatment applied by the Russian authorities to Ukrainian civilian detainees. The Deputy Secretary General reiterated the crucial role of the Council of Europe (CoE) in documenting and recording Russian crimes in Ukraine, namely through the Register of Damage. He also mentioned the Consultation Group on Ukrainian Children and the CoE’s contribution to the Core Group on the establishment of a Special Tribunal for the crime of aggression.
The Deputy Secretary General also had a bilateral meeting with the OSCE Chairperson and Minister for Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani. He congratulated the Chairperson for his excellent achievements in spite of the many challenges he had to face. The main concrete reflection of this successful leadership is the agreement by the 57 member states of the OSCE that Malta will take over the organisation's rotating chairpersonship in 2024, and the prolongation of the four leadership positions in the OSCE with nine more months. They also agreed on the importance to build upon the close partnership between the CoE and OSCE at the highest political level, and to continue efforts to ensure complementarity and coordination between the two Organisations.