The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on the South Caucasus, Kristian Vigenin (MP, Bulgaria), today concluded a two-day visit to Armenia and called for increased parliamentary support for efforts for a peaceful solution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
In Yerevan, the Special Representative met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Vice President of the Parliament Eduard Sharmazanov, senior members of parliament from the OSCE PA delegation, the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations, and leaders of several parliamentary parties. He also visited the OSCE Office in Yerevan.
“Following the important meeting last week in Vienna of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, it is crucial that we follow up these efforts with support at the parliamentary level. The agreements of the presidents to finalize an OSCE investigative mechanism and to expand the OSCE presence in the conflict zone are important steps that can help reduce the risk of violence,” said the Special Representative.
“I hope that these agreements will be built upon in another high-level meeting in the near future. While negotiations continue within the Minsk Group process on a comprehensive settlement, I believe that dialogue at the parliamentary level can help produce a climate that is conducive to peace,” he added.
On 16 May, meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to finalize in the shortest possible time an OSCE investigative mechanism and agreed to the expansion of the existing Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.
“Work at the parliamentary level can help encourage political will from the sides in the region to engage in serious efforts to negotiate a comprehensive settlement within the framework of the Minsk Group,” said Vigenin, who expressed his support for the work of the Minsk Group and its Co-Chairs to facilitate a peaceful solution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
“On the basis of my talks both here and later this week in Baku, I will propose some concrete ideas for further dialogue and engagement at the parliamentary level, and look forward to discussing these during the OSCE PA Annual Session in Tbilisi in early July,” he said.
The Special Representative spoke with a range of political actors and civil society representatives particularly regarding the constitutional and electoral reforms in the country.
“I continue to closely follow developments in Armenia, and was pleased to learn more about the process surrounding the ongoing electoral reform. The OSCE will continue to follow these developments closely, and I encourage all parties to take a constructive and inclusive approach to this process,” he added.
Vigenin reiterated the strong support of the Parliamentary Assembly for the work of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, and expressed his appreciation for the good co-operation that the Office enjoys with the government and civil society.
The Special Representative continues his travels this week with visits to Georgia and to Azerbaijan where high-level meetings are expected.
Vigenin was appointed Special Representative by OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva in February 2016. In his mandate, he is tasked with promoting dialogue in all segments of society, in particular at the parliamentary level, in order to encourage reconciliation and rehabilitation with regard to the protracted conflicts in the region.
This week’s visit is his first to the region as Special Representative. Vigenin is a former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria and currently serves as Deputy Head of the OSCE PA’s Bulgarian Delegation.
Photo Caption: OSCE PA Special Representative on the South Caucasus Kristian Vigenin meets Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on May 23, 2016 in Yerevan.