Albania Takes Over OSCE Chairmanship as Regional Security is Threatened by US-Iran Conflict

Albanian PM Edi Rama

Tirana, Albania | 09 Jan 2020 (Tirana Echo) – Albania has taken over the annual Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), as a major military and political crisis unfolds between the United States and Iran threatening regional security.

During its chairmanship, Albania will be focused on the crisis in Ukraine, human trafficking and hate speech as key issues on its 2020 agenda.

The chairmanship of the OSCE is widely seen as an historic moment for Albania, which until 30 years ago was Europe’s poorest and most isolated country suffering from massive violations of human right and basic freedoms.

Implementing political commitments together, making a difference on the ground and continuing to strengthen dialogue will define Albania’s 2020 OSCE Agenda.

The socialist government of Prime Minister Edi Rama assumes the chairmanship of the 57 nations security body where the USA and Russia play key roles, as the small Balkan country is faced with an ongoing political crisis at home and a refusal by the European Union to open membership talks last year.

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 in Vienna as he assumed the post of Chairperson-in-Office of the regional security organization.

Highlighting some of the key issues that will feature on its agenda, PM Rama said “the crisis in and around Ukraine remains the most pressing security challenge in Europe. 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.“

Albania assumes chairmanship of the regional security organization as a major crisis escalates between the United States and Iran and as new evidence has emerged of a Ukrainian commercial airplane being brought down accidentally by Iranian surface-to-air missiles, killing 176 people on board.

Albania hosts more than 3000 members of Iran’s resistance Mojahedin movement (MEK) whose followers have been allowed to settle in the country with US mediation after their lives were put in danger in camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq.

In 2018, Albania expelled the Iranian Ambassador and another diplomat following intelligence of a terror plot being planned on Albanian soil against MEK members.

The OSCE has a comprehensive approach to security that encompasses politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects. It therefore addresses a wide range of security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities. All 57 participating States enjoy equal status, and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically, but not legally binding basis.

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