The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Marija Gabriel, said that she left this week's Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Skopje before the arrival of the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, because "she cannot be at the same table with people who have anti-Bulgarian and anti-European attitudes." .
"I was in Skopje to pay my respects to the chairman of the OSCE (North Macedonia). In addition, there was a dinner of European leaders where each of us had to say that we are here because we do not want to sign the death of the OSCE. After that dinner, I don't think my presence there should have been physical, so I left. I don't want to attend with the representatives of the countries that declared us enemies," said Gabriel, MIA agency reported.
Bulgaria, although it previously announced that it was giving permission for the plane of the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, on the way to Skopje, still did not allow him to pass through its airspace because the spokeswoman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, was with him.
That is why Lavrov traveled to Skopje via Turkey and Greece, and the flight lasted five hours. Moscow called Sofia's decision "the dangerous stupidity of some prankster in the Bulgarian power structures."
On Friday, Lavrov called the US and EU foreign ministers, Anthony Blinken and Josep Borelj, "cowards" because they avoided meeting with him in Skopje.
He noted that Blinken and Borelj were at an informal dinner on Wednesday before the start of the meeting, but not at the official meeting of the Ministerial Council on Thursday and Friday.
"I was at the opening with all my colleagues, but we were not at the dinner (the day before). In the morning, there was no Ukrainian minister, nor representatives of the Baltic states. Secretary Blinken and Borelj left. Why did they do that? Maybe they wanted to emphasize their intention to isolate Russia, but I think they are just cowards," Lavrov said at a press conference organized by the Russian delegation.
The Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovačevski, before the start of the conference, assessed that the arrival of Lavrov in Skopje "is absolutely not a diplomatic victory for Russia", but rather "a diplomatic victory for the OSCE, given that the future of that international organization was called into question". .
When Lavrov's arrival was confirmed, the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - decided to boycott the OSCE forum.
About 30 delegates from 1.000 delegations from 76 member countries and partner countries were present at the 57th OSCE Ministerial Council in the "Boris Trajkovski" Sports Center.
Malta was elected as the chairman in 2024, since in the previous months Russia blocked the election of Estonia three times, which was the only candidate for the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2024.
"All members agreed on the election of Malta as the next chairman and the extension of the mandate of the Secretary General and the heads of the three institutions within the Organization. The OSCE is safe. We have preserved the organization and its functionality for the citizens," said the Chairman of the OSCE, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Northern Bujar Osmani of Macedonia.
When asked by a journalist whether there was "bargaining" with Russia in reaching an agreement at the ministerial meeting, he said that compromise was "at the core" of that organization and expressed his satisfaction that in such a difficult year the decisions were made unanimously, stressing that there was no "bargaining " with the values of the OSCE.
"We were loud in our condemnation of Russian military aggression, but we also turned the OSCE into a platform for Russia's legal responsibility. There was no trade in the Organization's principles," said Osmani.