OSCE Ministerial Council to meet

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council is set to meet virtually today and tomorrow. The

OSCE Ministerial Council

Photo: Szabo Arpad/ KKM

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council is set to meet virtually today and tomorrow.

The crises in Belarus and Georgia are expected to occupy much of the agenda, especially after the release of an OSCE report alleging human rights violations in Belarus and demanding new elections under international standards. Russia has objected to the report and called its conclusions biased.

The US has also called for the OSCE to address human rights violations committed by Russian-affiliated groups in Crimea. Expect the meeting to be contentious given that Russia lies on the opposite side of other OSCE members in these conflicts. This is likely to lead to the approval of a watered-down communique on respecting democratic principles without insinuating Russian involvement in any crises.

In the medium term, the OSCE will likely continue its work investigating human rights abuses in Eastern Europe, but without Russian buy-in, meaningful changes to the situation are unlikely. Significant progress in addressing crises in Georgia and Belarus is also unlikely in the medium-term given Russia’s continued support of Belarusian President Lukashenko and the opposition’s refusal to accept election results in Georgia even under EU and US pressure.

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