OSCE Permanent Representatives sum up visit to South Caucasus

From 18 to 22 June 2018, a group of 24 Permanent Representatives to the OSCE visited Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The trip, the first in several years in this format, aimed at reconfirming the ambassadors’ strong interest in peace, stability and prosperity in the region, in line with OSCE commitments and principles, as well as their support for stronger OSCE engagement in each of the three countries.

The ambassadors met with high-level government officials, parliamentarians from a wide range of political parties and representatives of civil society in Yerevan, Tbilisi and Baku. Questions of security, conflicts and recent political developments featured prominently during the talks.

Ambassador Véronique Roger-Lacan from France conveyed joint messages from the group throughout the visit, stressing support for “increased OSCE co-operation, in the interest of our common security. The OSCE is eager to step up its links with Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, with a view to benefit their societies and the organization across all dimensions of security.”

Discussions in Armenia with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan focused on the importance of Armenia’s continued engagement with the OSCE. In these meetings, and in consultations in the National Assembly, interlocutors expressed appreciation for the work of the OSCE over the years, and interest in continuing co-operation. A meeting was also held with OSCE project beneficiaries and former implementation partners.

In Georgia, Ambassadors were received by President Giorgi Margvelashvili. They also met with Deputy Foreign Minister Vakhtang Makharoblishvili and representatives of the parliament. Discussions with the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly George Tsereteli underlined the importance of the parliamentary dimension of the OSCE’s work. In Mtskheta, the group was briefed by the European Union Monitoring Mission – which, with the OSCE, co-facilitates the regular Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meetings on the ground – before visiting an OSCE water management project in Sobisi. They also travelled to Odzisi, near the administrative boundary line, to gain an impression of the security situation on the ground and of the living conditions of the local population.

In Azerbaijan, the Ambassadors met with Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as with representatives of the parliament, the Milli Mejlis, including Deputy Speaker Bahar Muradova and Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Azay Guliyev. The trip concluded with discussions with Prime Minister Novruz Mammadov , which provided the group with perspectives for future dialogue and co-operation within the OSCE framework.

“I return to Vienna deeply inspired by this important trip to the three countries of the South Caucasus,” Ambassador Alessandro Azzoni, Chairperson of the OSCE Permanent Council, said. “Our objective was to enhance trust and to stress our wish to intensify the engagement of the countries with the OSCE. They remain high on the OSCE agenda and there is a lot for us to share with each other in order to strengthen our mutual security.”

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