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Press Releases, 6/5/2008

OSCE, Turkmenistan should intensify co-operation on common concerns, says OSCE Chairman

Press release 203/2008
5 June, 2008

Turkmenistan's active co-operation with the OSCE is crucial for promoting stability in the region and strengthening the country’s own reform process, said the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, in Ashgabad today.

Minister Stubb met President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov in the port city of Turkmenbashi, and the Chairperson of the Parliament (Mejlis), Akja Nurberdiyeva, in Ashgabad, to discuss the work of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabad and reforms in areas including education, as well as initiatives to enhance engagement with Afghanistan.

"In my meetings I was encouraged to hear about Turkmenistan’s recent efforts to reform its legislation," said Stubb. "The OSCE and Turkmenistan are already co-operating on a number of important joint activities, and I believe we can work together to further support the much-needed reform process in all dimensions of security, particularly with respect to human rights, democracy and rule of law, as well as to promote an independent civil society.”

He added that the OSCE stood ready to assist with legislative reforms, and he encouraged Turkmenistan’s government to continue dialogue with the OSCE’s election body on election legislation, and deepen co-operation in areas such as border security and management.

"Border security and management is a priority in the region, and the decision by the 56 OSCE participating States, including Turkmenistan, to enhance engagement with Afghanistan is a key part of this work,” he added. “Closer co-operation on these concerns would be mutually beneficial, and I am looking forward to exploring concrete initiatives."

The Minister also highlighted Turkmenistan's support for OSCE work in the economic and environmental area, including hosting the March Preparatory Conference to the 16th OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum on waterways co-operation, which paid particular attention to the Caspian Sea region and the challenges facing landlocked countries.

"Waterways co-operation and the needs of landlocked regions like Central Asia are a priority of the Finnish OSCE Chairmanship, and the recent conference was an encouraging example of the benefits of working together to tackle common concerns," said the Chairman-in-Office.

On his visit to the region the Chairman-in-Office also visited Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. He will be travelling to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in July.

Further information: Aleksi Härkönen, Head of the Finnish OSCE Chairmanship Task Force, tel. +358 400 330 406; Mikko Hautala, Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 40 834 6758

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Updated 6/6/2008

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