EU district claims declining to talk to Russia can be hazardous


(MENAFN) Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg has issued a cautionary message to Western nations about the perils of avoiding dialogue with Russia, emphasizing the risks associated with the formation of 'echo chambers' in international politics. Schallenberg's remarks come in the context of North Macedonia's Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) Chairmanship's decision to permit Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's attendance at its annual meeting in Skopje this week.

Expressing approval of the decision, Schallenberg asserted that the West should not shy away from engaging in discussions with Russian counterparts. He highlighted the potential dangers of insulating foreign policy within echo chambers, characterizing such tendencies as life-threatening. Schallenberg emphasized that the diplomacy practiced within the OSCE reflects a form of classic multilateralism at its best.

Recalling a notable incident from the previous year when Poland, holding the rotating chair at the OSCE, refused to invite Lavrov, Schallenberg noted that he was the sole Western foreign minister to criticize the decision at that time.

The upcoming summit of OSCE foreign ministers, scheduled from November 30 to December 1, has garnered attention due to Lavrov's participation. Lavrov's journey to the North Macedonian capital was marked by a deviation from the original flight path over Bulgaria, with reports suggesting that Bulgaria refused airspace access to Lavrov's plane if certain conditions were not met.

In a show of dissent, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have declared their intention to boycott the OSCE meeting, expressing condemnation for Moscow's expected participation and expressing deep regret over Lavrov's invitation. Polish Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek announced his decision to abstain from the summit, underscoring a growing rift within the Western bloc regarding engagement with Russia in multilateral forums.

As diplomatic tensions unfold within the OSCE, Schallenberg's call for open dialogue serves as a timely reminder of the complexities surrounding international relations and the delicate balance required to navigate differing perspectives on the global stage.

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