2020 turned out to be extremely difficult for a number of international institutions and organizations. The OSCE is amongst chief losers, since judging by multiplying crises in Eurasia, it is clearly not coping with its role and tasks taken.
The peak of tension in the struggle between the establishment and the new populists – that is what characterized the current year; the upcoming US presidential elections will play the key event within. International organizations (that have for many years remained indisputable global authorities in the fields corresponding to their profile) are, among other things, the objects of this bitter confrontation for the minds and sympathies of voters.
However, this stability island is entering a crisis state as well under the pressure of the current political situation. For example, Donald Trump’s specific policies have negatively impacted the functionality of the World Health Organization and have also discredited the normally slender and disciplined NATO ranks due to disputes over budgetary funding for military spending.
The uncertainty of global mechanisms’ fate as well negatively affected such an important Organization as the OSCE; an Organization responsible for prevention and administration of armed conflicts in the European space. The crises that have developed under the influence of objective factors that do not absolutely depend on the OSCE’s efforts, nevertheless, have exposed the lack of vision, flexibility and ability to respond to a worsening situation, even by means of preventive methods.
The inability of current Albania presidency in the OSCE to succeed arranging the participation of representatives of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in monitoring the presidential elections in Belarus, led to the impossibility to record and bring to the international community verified information about electoral process violations. The opposition, actually decapitated by means of arrests, is now forced to independently challenge election results without relying on competent opinion of relevant European institutions. Belarus ignored the OSCE’s attempts to make a visit to the country and meet with the government leadership and representatives of the opposition and thus, testified to the rather frivolous attitude of the official Minsk to the Organization’s position, when back in 2013, it achieved the OSCE field presence evacuation.
Tellingly, the Organization runs the risk of facing similar difficulties in the presidential elections in Moldova. This time, representatives of the ODIHR will not formally come to Moldova due to the COVID-19 pandemic that Chisinau objectively cannot cope with. However, many Moldovan experts took Vienna’s gesture with alarm, considering it an indicator to prepare to non-recognize the results of people’s will in the Republic of Moldova. It is difficult to say what this approach will lead to. Anyway, the fact is that the OSCE hastened to in advance minimize its legitimate participation in the post-election processes in Moldova. Either it does not want being associated with the Moldovan elections, or tires opening the way for other, more influential actors.
For example, despite the health emergency, in Kyrgyzstan the OSCE / ODIHR opened a limited observation mission on September 7 to observe the October 4 parliamentary elections. This made it possible ensuring importance to subsequent OSCE Albanian Chairmanship appeals to demand for Bishkek Organization’s program office mediation and for the subsequent transition of power while the fading confrontation power phase. However, Kyrgyzstan has become rather an exception to the rule, since conditioned by an independent logic of the struggle for power between northern and southern clans.
As for the so-called Frozen Conflicts, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is in a very difficult position. The limited progress in the Serbo-Kosovo settlement is due to the administration of US President Donald Trump and in a sense, the special representative of the European Union. The OSCE has long been removed from the political negotiations side between Belgrade and Pristina and is being busy with minor, almost administrative issues.
On the other hand, the OSCE Minsk Group was quite obviously unable to foresee and achieve an end to the next aggravation in Nagorno-Karabakh. The fighting there has been going on for more than a month, foreign proxies being involved, as well as numerous destructions and thousands of victims. The repeated ceasefire does not work, and the members of the Minsk Group act in disunity because solving their own problems. There is no sign of a settlement and besides, the historically established negotiation format itself may be destroyed. Turkey getting involved (to build up its regional influence without special reverence for the OSCE principles) in the process of resolving the conflict seems to be only a matter of time.
The Trilateral Contact Group on the conflict in eastern Ukraine works regularly, despite its traditional scandalousness. The ceasefire is generally respected, largely due to the internal political situation. Its stability will be tested in the very near future, given the local elections cycle completion in Ukraine and the inconclusive results of the Servant of People Party in power and its nominees.
It was not possible arranging the 51st round of Geneva discussions on Transcaucasus. It was scheduled for early October but not all delegations were able to visit it and that which led to the postponement. Obviously, the happening was not part of the OSCE’s plans so, as a result it declared the critical importance of face-to-face meetings for preventing security incidents and solving humanitarian problems, especially when facing the difficult situation with COVID-19.
However, the OSCE is acting differently in Moldova. It does not insist on holding a round of a permanent 5 + 2 conference. By the end of October, there is no certainty as to whether at least one meeting will be chaired by Albania. There are as well no rumors of an annual review conference on confidence-building measures in Germany. On the other hand, the OSCE expressed support for the summer meeting of leaders Igor Dodon and Vadim Krasnoselsky, which is being held at Moscow’s suggestion and in which representatives of the Organization do not participate. And which contains the same agenda that the OSCE is called upon to deal with in the 5 + 2 format and its derivatives.
It is difficult to say does this mean that OSCE actually refuses mediating negotiations between Chisinau and Tiraspol (there were enough resonant occasions this year). But it is quite obvious that where one of the participants does not fulfill his mission, someone else will necessarily take his place – and his intentions may be extremely far from the interests of both parties to the conflict.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.