OSCE Secretary General regrets closure of the Yerevan Office

“Armenia’s involvement in all OSCE programs and in all directions of its activity can be considered exemplary,” Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian told reporters today at a joint press conference with visiting OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier.

“The OSCE Secretary General’s visit is taking place at a time, when the organization is forced to close down its last office in the region, as one of the OSCE members states –Azerbaijan abused its right to veto, actually blocking the extension of the mandate of the OSCE Yerevan Office,” Minister Nalbandian said.

“Baku was trying to present the issue on the Armenia-Azerbaijan dimension, but the issue is actually a matter of Azerbaijan-OSCE relations and is an action against the OSCE,” the Foreign Minister stated.

“I believe that the OSCE Chairmanship, as well as the participating states and the Secretariat have made relevant conclusions in regard to this destructive step of Baku, which totally contradicts the OSCE vision and goals,” he added.

“Regarding the Office I would like to add that we anticipate that many programmes, which Office has been implementing, will continue to be realized within other formats,” Minister Nalbandian stated.

OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, in turn, voiced regret over the failure to reach consensus on the extension of the mandate. He added, however, that the closure of the office does not mean end of cooperation with Armenia.

“I think we have many topics on the agenda that are relevant and important and we have to look at different ways of working together and ensure that the closure of the office marks the closure of a chapter, and an opening of new ways of working together,” he added.

He thanked the Armenian authorities for the support during his time as Secretary General.

The Office in Yerevan will discontinue its operations on 31 August 2017.

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