Lavrov says will attend Skopje OSCE summit if Bulgaria allows overflight
Skopje, 27 November 2023 (MIA) — Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that he would attend the OSCE meeting in North Macedonia if Bulgaria opened its air space to the Russian delegation's planes, according to media reports.
The Russian foreign minister said North Macedonia had invited Russia to attend the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe foreign ministers, including the United States, Britain, Canada, EU states and NATO members as well as Ukraine, taking place in Skopje on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
"Bulgaria has apparently promised Macedonia it will open its air space. If that happens, we will be there," Lavrov told the Primakov Readings conference in Moscow, the Reuters and Tass news agencies report.
Meanwhile, EU Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Peter Stano in Brussels said Lavrov's attendance would not violate European sanctions against Russia.
"Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov can travel to an EU country or North Macedonia, despite being on the European list of sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine. EU countries can allow Lavrov's plane to fly over as can authorities in Skopje issue permission for landing," Stano said.
According to him, Lavrov's participation in the meeting would not be a violation of the sanctions but instead an "opportunity to stand face to face with Lavrov and discuss the lies he has been spreading," Stano said at a briefing in Brussels.
He said the summit would also provide a chance for the EU to present its vision and any of those under sanctions could decide to change their destructive ways. mr/