The Concerns of the Civil Society about the Possible Closure of the OSCE Office in Armenia”
16.02.2017
13:00
The representatives of the civil society have prepared a letter to send to the OSCE headquarters in Vienna to express their opinions and concerns about the possible closure of the OSCE office in Armenia and stated the effectiveness of the Office's activities.

As it is known, the OSCE office in Armenia is the only one in the region. It was closed in Georgia and Azerbaijan.

A press conference was held on this topic at Media Center on February 16, attended by Arthur Sakunts, Head of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office, Stepan Grigoryan, Director of the Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation, Avetik Ishkhanyan, Head of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia.

Last year, it became known that the operation of the OSCE office may be terminated as one of the member states, at least Azerbaijan, does not approve the programs related to the field mission for this year, then in mid-January, the OSCE Chairman said during an interview with one of the Armenian media that they gave much importance to the Office operation and did not intend to close it. But after that, so far there has been no decision or approved projects about the activities of the Office for this year.

At the beginning of the press conference, Arthur Sakunts said that OSCE mandates were very wide. OSCE Yerevan Office is engaged in the support of Armenia's state institutions.

Sakunts notes that only one country, the Republic of Azerbaijan, is against the extension of the term of the OSCE Office in Yerevan and it is due to the Karabakh conflict and Azerbaijani government's tough policy.

The speaker stresses that the OSCE Office in Yerevan has no relation with the Karabakh conflict in any way and is not engaged in the issues associated with it.

Avetik Ishkhanyan, agreeing with the above-mentioned opinion, notes that the current leadership of Azerbaijan is at war with Armenia in all the issues without exception.

Stepan Grigoryan considers the closure of the office a serious problem. “We have to respond and tell the OSCE leadership our opinion. This office is doing serious work; we believe that this work should proceed, its operation directly supports the strengthening of democracy in Armenia.”

“Only the fact that the improvement of the Armenian legislation was often supported within the framework of the OSCE office is not a little thing,” he adds.

Ishkhanyan supports the closure of the OSCE and the representation of the Council of Europe Secretary General but stresses that not now.

“There are representations in the countries where there is strive for democracy, at least in their speeches, but are still not democratic. I said closure in a sense that Armenia turns into a country that does not need them,” Ishkhanyan said. 

Ishkhanyan adds that there are no OSCE offices in democratic countries and in dictatorial countries, like Azerbaijan. He emphasized that the OSCE is very efficient in Armenia.  

To watch the video, follow the link.  

Arpine Arzumanyan website editor at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to arpinearzumanyan@pjc.am.

 

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