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Speeches, 7/6/2006

OSCE: EU Statement in response to the report by the Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, Ambassador Pryakhin

Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Permanent Council No. 618
6 July 2006

The European Union warmly welcomes Ambassador Pryakhin back to the Permanent Council and thanks him for his report, which provides us with a comprehensive and detailed overview over the Office’s activities.

The European Union notes with satisfaction that the Office in Yerevan carries out a broad range of activities in all three dimensions. We underline our point of view that activities in all three dimensions are essential in the context of the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security. We are therefore satisfied to hear that the expansion of activities in the economic and political-military dimension is being undertaken without prejudice to programmes in the human dimension. At the same time we commend the Office’s close cooperation with both the local authorities and civil society in defining and implementing its programmes.

The European Union highly appreciates the Mission’s plans to intensify its efforts in supporting electoral reforms in the run-up to the 2007 Parliamentary Elections and the Presidential Elections in 2008. The European Union attaches the highest importance to these elections being held in line with Armenia’s OSCE commitments as well as international standards for free and fair elections. We therefore call upon the government of Armenia to make full use of the support provided by the OSCE Office and the ODIHR. The special emphasis put by the Office on issues related to freedom of assembly and freedom of the media are also highly relevant in this respect.

At the same time, we call upon all political forces in Armenia to actively engage in a continued reform process. In this respect, the Office’s work with the democratic institutions – among them the National Assembly and the Ombudsperson –remains crucial. We also commend the Mission’s activities in support of the Armenian government’s efforts to fight corruption, trafficking and terrorism.

The Mission’s work in the economic and environmental dimension, especially with regard to strengthening the SME sector and the economic development of the regions, enjoy our support. We welcome the recent signing between the Office and the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of an MoU, which provides the legal basis for setting up programme offices outside the capital, and the subsequent opening of a first such office in the Syunik region. As we have pointed out at the Economic Forum in Prague, environmental issues remain an essential element of the second dimension. In this regard, the strengthening of capacities of the Aarhus centres and further support to the ENVSEC remains of importance.

As to the first dimension, we are satisfied to hear that the third and final stage of the so-called “Melange”-project has recently commenced. As we have said before, this project provides an important contribution to environmental security and can serve as an example for OSCE activities in other parts of the region. We have also listened with interest to the report on the state of the police programme and thank Ambassador Pryakhin for providing us with this information.

Mr. Chairman, the inclusion of Armenia into the European Neighbourhood Policy indicates the EU’s readiness to strengthen its relations with Armenia on the basis of shared values of democracy and market economy, as well as the negotiated and peaceful settlement of conflicts. At the same time, the European Union is continuing its engagement in support of the countries of the South Caucasus through the work of its Special Representative. We are convinced that the OSCE’s Office in Yerevan, through its activities in all three dimensions and based on the open and constructive relationship with the Armenian government, provides an important contribution to our shared goals.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, we thank Ambassador Pryakhin and his staff for all the work done and wish them all the best for the time ahead.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey,
Croatia [1] and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

[1] Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

Updated 7/6/2006

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