World, Europe

OSCE to focus on conflict mediation this year: Lajcak

Slovakia's foreign minister speaks on priorities as his country assumes the OSCE chairmanship for 2019

10.01.2019
OSCE to focus on conflict mediation this year: Lajcak

By Askin Kiyagan

VIENNA

This year, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will focus on the mediation of conflicts, said Slovakia’s foreign minister on Thursday.

"Slovakia is determined to be impartial, fair, and honest in our role as partners and mediators during the course of our 2019 OSCE chairmanship,” Miroslav Lajcak told a briefing in Vienna, Austria about Slovakia’s priorities during its turn at the OSCE helm this year.

"We will focus on how conflict is mediated, resolved and prevented, as well as on people who are living through it," he added.

“The major challenges facing OSCE region today -- and, indeed, the wider world -- demand more cooperation and more dialogue than ever before.

"Young people must be at the table. They are coming up with ways to prevent violent extremism and radicalization, counter climate change and spur sustainable development. We need to start listening to them."

As an example of a crisis, Lajcak cited Ukraine, saying: “There is a crisis still going on in Ukraine."

Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum.

Turkey, as well as the UN General Assembly, view the annexation as illegal.

Unrest on Ukraine's eastern border with Russia and an incident last November when Russia fired on Ukrainian vessels around the Kerch Straits have exacerbated bilateral tensions.

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