Skopje's Diplomatic Tangle: Blinken and Gabriel Depart as Lavrov Arrives
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken left the Macedonian capital late last night, an hour before the arrival of Russia's No. 1 diplomat, Sergey Lavrov. Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mariya Gabriel also left Skopje on Wednesday evening to avoid attending today's OSCE meeting, which is also attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Blinken is currently in Tel Aviv for talks with Israeli leaders about a truce with Hamas and the provision of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. This is Blinken's third visit to the Middle East since the start of the conflict between Israel and the radical group.
Blinken arrived in Skopje yesterday afternoon and attended the informal dinner of the ministers of foreign affairs participating in the OSCE meeting, hosted by the first diplomat of the Republic of Macedonia Bujar Osmani.
"The United States will continue to support North Macedonia and its future steps, which should ensure EU membership," Blinken said during the conversation with Macedonian Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski, expressing respect for the government's brave statesmanship decisions to achieve this goal, reported the special envoy of BGNES from the Macedonian capital, Dimitar Ruskov.
Blinken and Osmani then condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine and reaffirmed support for the Ukrainian people. "As strategic partners and allies in NATO, we are united in our support for Ukraine and the defense of modern democratic values and principles. We strongly condemn the Russian military aggression, which is an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," said the Macedonian foreign minister and OSCE chairman.
Sergey Lavrov arrived in Skopje shortly after...