Lavrov Awaits OSCE Entry: Bulgaria's Airspace Decision in Focus
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he would attend an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) meeting in Skopje if Bulgaria allowed his plane into its airspace.
"It seems that Bulgaria has promised North Macedonia that it will open its airspace - if that happens, we will be there," Lavrov was quoted as saying by Interfax, a few days before the meeting scheduled for November 30 and December 1.
Bulgaria has closed its airspace to Russian aircraft as part of EU sanctions imposed over the war in Ukraine. North Macedonia, a NATO member and EU candidate, did the same. As a result, Lavrov's visit to Belgrade in June 2022 was thwarted.
A few days ago, North Macedonia decided to allow the entry of the Russian plane on the occasion of the visit. North Macedonia also closed its airspace to Russian aircraft. A spokesman for the European Commission said today that Lavrov can travel to Skopje. Those affected by the sanctions have the right to travel, especially when their travel is related to the reason they were sanctioned, he said.
At the end of last week, Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani announced that negotiations are underway with Bulgaria and Greece to allow overflights. "If we decided, I don't see why they shouldn't accept," Osmani said. "The EU's decision is clear, it talks about exceptions for events related to the OSCE and other international organizations," Osmani said at the time. "And if he comes, he does not come to Skopje, but to the OSCE. We must distinguish the bilateral from the multilateral nature of the visit."
Lavrov also claimed that some Western countries requested a meeting with him and they were on a list of requests for a conversation. Last year,...