OSCE to shut down office in Yerevan

By Asbarez | Thursday, 04 May 2017

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office in Yerevan (Photo: OSCE Office in Yerevan/Facebook)

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office in Yerevan (Photo: OSCE Office in Yerevan)

YEREVAN (OSCE)—The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly President Christine Muttonen (MP, Austria) and Special Representative on the South Caucasus Kristian Vigenin (MP, Bulgaria) expressed regret about today’s announcement that it has not been possible to reach agreement to extend the mandate of the OSCE’s Office in Yerevan, reported the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on Thursday.

The Office is expected to close in the coming months.

“I regret the fact that despite lengthy and extensive efforts, the Permanent Council has been unable to reach consensus on the continuation of the OSCE Office in Yerevan’s important work,” President Muttonen said. “The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has repeatedly called for OSCE field operations to be given robust mandates and all the resources they need to allow them to perform their vital tasks, and yet, regrettably, another field operation is being closed.”

Vigenin noted how important the Office in Yerevan’s work is for Armenia and the OSCE, and stressed that the OSCE PA will remain actively engaged in the region.

“Following the closure of OSCE field operations in Georgia and Azerbaijan in past years, the Office in Yerevan has both a symbolic and practical importance that should not be overlooked. Personally, I have benefited from the Office’s expertise when carrying out diplomatic visits, and hope that the interim period before the final closure of the mission can be used to find a compromise solution so that the country can continue benefiting from its support,” Vigenin said.

In its Baku Declaration of 2014 the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly called for the OSCE to “adopt full, effective, and long-term mandates for OSCE field operations,” reiterating similar previous appeals.

Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry of Armenia Tigran Balayan commented on the recent developments over the closure of the OSCE Office in Yerevan in an interview with News.am, reported the Foreign Ministry of Armenia on Thursday.

“Today, the Representative of the OSCE Austrian Chairmanship delivered a statement at the Permanent Council meeting announcing that despite exerted efforts, it has not been possible to reach an agreement on the extension of the mandate of the OSCE Office in Yerevan,” Balayan said. “As during the Permanent Council meeting in January, the Austrian Chairmanship today praised the constructive efforts of Armenia aimed at finding a solution to the issue. Likewise, the constructive approaches of Armenia were commended by other participating States.”

Balayan said that Azerbaijan continues its destructive stance in the conflict, and “finds itself in a total isolation.” He said that the OSCE Chairmanship, its participating states, and Secretariat support the OSCE Office in Yerevan, and it is solely Azerbaijan that abuses the OSCE principle of consensus, singlehandedly blocking the decision on the continuation of activities of the OSCE office in Yerevan, thus opposing to the whole organization.

The Armenian Foreign Ministers said that it will remain committed to OSCE’s goals and will continue to implement the organization’s projects.