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Russian foreign minister slams Polish chairmanship of OSCE

Russian foreign minister slams Polish chairmanship of OSCE
Sergey Lavrov says no one did so much harm to security organization as current Polish chairmanship, as OSCE meeting starts today

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – Russia’s foreign minister said on Thursday that no one has ever done as much damage to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as the current Polish chairmanship.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Sergey Lavrov said the Swedish chairmanship in 2021 started preparing the "OSCE’s funeral," with Poland following its lead by "digging a grave for this organization." Both countries are among the numerous Western countries firmly opposed to Russia’s war on Ukraine, which started in February. Since the war began, Sweden has also moved to join NATO, against Russian opposition.

"The Swedes were the chairmen last year, back then they openly began to act not as honest brokers, but as active participants in Western policy in the OSCE, subordinating the OSCE to the interests of the United States and Brussels.

"In fact, it was the Swedes who began to prepare the OSCE funeral. And our Polish neighbors have been diligently digging a grave for this organization all this year, destroying the remnants of the culture of consensus ... No one has ever done such damage to the OSCE, being in charge," he said.

Last month, Russia slammed Poland's refusal to issue a visa to Lavrov so he could take part in a meeting of OSCE foreign ministers, which begins today in the city of Lodz.

Lavrov added that the OSCE is losing its significance, and its authority and competencies "are being eroded in every possible way."

Through the efforts of the EU, parallel structures and meetings are being created, such as the European Political Community, whose first meeting took place on Oct. 6 in the Czech Republic, he said.

The West has shown that it will build security not with Russia, but against it, Lavrov stressed, adding that in response Russia and Belarus "have taken all security measures to be ready for any options." Belarus has been Russia’s chief supporter of the Ukraine war.

- Grain deal and Russia

Turning to the deal on grain exports reached this summer in Istanbul, Lavrov blasted "lies" that Western sanctions do not restrict the export of Russian agricultural products.

"Although there is no heading ‘fertilizers and food from Russia’ on the sanctions lists … (there is) is a ban on bank transactions, first of all for our leading bank, Rosselkhozbank, which is disconnected from SWIFT, namely, it serves more than 90% of all our food supplies.

"The sanctions also include a ban on the access of our vessels to European ports, and foreign vessels to Russian ports. And also the sanctions relate to the freight of ships and insurance of ships," he said.

Lavrov praised UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his efforts to lift sanctions that block food exports.

"But it is already the fifth month after the signing of this (grain) deal. The reaction of the US and the EU is extremely slow, our UN colleagues have to literally ‘knock out’ some exceptions every time," he said.

On July 22, Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed a landmark agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which had been paused in February due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Beginning Nov. 19, the deal was extended for another 120 days.

source: News Feed
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