Foreign Ministry Spokesman Clarifies Armenia’s Decision to Criticize OSCE

YEREVAN (ARMENPRESS)–In response to reporter inquiries as to why Armenia joined Russia and seven other countries in accusing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) of unjustly meddling in their internal affairs–Hamlet Gasparian–a spokesman for the Armenian Foreign Ministry–said the Armenian government–like the other signatories–has a number of reservations about the activities of the OSCE and some of its bodies.

Gasparian explained that the decision was not made overnight and that the government had been discontent with various aspects of the OSCE for a number of years. He said that similar criticism had been made by Armenia and other CIS member countries during official OSCE discussions aimed at improving the work of the organization.

"The signatories of the statement are full members of the OSCE and have the right to express their opinions with regard to any aspect of OSCE’s activity for the sake of its improvement," Gasparian stated. He clarified some of OSCE’s failures–including–the use of double standards–biased assessmen’s of OSCE monitoring missions and the explicit violation of the balance between the organization’s "three dimensions."

Despite the criticism–Gasparian noted that Armenia will remain committed to the responsibilities it assumed within the OSCE framework. "Armenia remains committed to all its obligations and is dedicated to this organization’s values–and defends the principle of solidarity among all its members," he said.

The statement released last week was not signed by Azerbaijan–prompting reporters to speculate about the negative affects Armenia’s stance may have on the Mountainous Karabagh settlement. "It should be noted that the issues raised in [the statement] have no relation at all to the regulation process–nor to the work of the OSCE Minsk group and its co-chairmen," Gasparian stated.

The spokesman’said that according to Azeri media sources–Azerbaijan declined to sign the statement when other CIS countries refused to incorporate wording it had suggested. He made clear that Azerbaijan has often criticized OSCE and its Minsk group.

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