Sweden to present agenda for its chairmanship of the OSCE

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde will today present the country’s agenda for its 2021 chairmanship of the Organization for Security

Sweden OSCE

Photo: Evgenia Novozhenina/ Reuters

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde will today present the country’s agenda for its 2021 chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Sweden faces the difficult task of renewing faith in multilateral conflict resolution in order to enhance comprehensive European security based on international law—one of the OSCE’s core founding tenants. Stockholm has stressed that disincentivising recourse to the use of force and addressing the fallout from hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, continued flare-ups in the Donbass region and Belarus’ violent suppression of peaceful protests will top its agenda.

However, Stockholm is likely to face significant roadblocks in implementing its goals. Though Sweden could push for stricter EU sanctions against Belarus, firm Russian support will give President Alexander Lukashenko little incentive to seek OSCE mediation. Deteriorating EU-Russian relations will likely torpedo Stockholm’s efforts to reinvigorate the OSCE-supported Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. In Nagorno-Karabakh, forceful Azerbaijani denunciation of the OSCE Minsk Group’s incapacity following Baku’s military victory has significantly weakened the Organization’s negotiating position. Facing these realities, Stockholm may opt to focus on promoting other key Swedish objectives, such as the promotion of gender equality and civil society strength within OSCE borders.

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