The meeting is scheduled to take place in Vienna on February 23 and 24, exactly one year after the start of Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine.
All members of the Russian delegation, which have been announced so far, are included in the list of persons subject to European Union (EU) sanctions, the newspaper “Der Standard” reports.
As the host of the OSCE headquarters, Vienna should allow the delegates of all member states to enter Austria, Schallenberg said, admitting that the dates for the meeting were “very unfortunate”.
“But at the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that we need platforms [sarunām]. The OSCE has never been an organization of like-minded people,” the minister emphasized in an interview with the news program “Zeit im Bild” of the first channel of Austrian public television on Sunday evening.
He admitted that any relationship and negotiations with Russia are difficult, but that the dialogue should be maintained, “because at some point, hopefully, diplomacy will be given a place again”.
One of the countries that has called on Austria to ban Russian officials from entering the country, Lithuania, has even threatened to boycott the meeting if Vienna refuses to consider its demand.
“Our delegation may not be able to go there and sit in the same room with the people who have to stand before a special military tribunal, because these people are directly responsible for starting the war,” the head of the Lithuanian delegation, Vilija Aleknaite-Abramikiene, told journalists in Vilnius on Friday.