VIENNA (Trend)—The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly began its two-day winter meeting on Thursday, bringing together legislatures from the 57 member states of the security organization to discuss deeper cooperation, regional challenges, protracted conflicts, European arms control, and democratic development.
The summit also focused on the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has been under the mediation of the OSCE’s Minsk Group since the early 90s.
Earlier this week, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakh Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev Saudabayev visited the South Caucasus, where he met leaders in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.
On the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Saudabayev said: “We are working on a Chairmanship roadmap to support and strengthen the peace-building efforts of all sides of the conflict.”
Saudabayev said finding a resolution to the conflict will be among the main focuses of the Kazakh chairmanship in 2010.
“We need to find a speedy settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, based on the Madrid principles. The conflict must be tackled in a peaceful way and we must use all means to enhance trust in the region,” Saudabayev told the OSCE parliamentarians.
He stressed that bringing a “decent standard of living for the ordinary people in the region was a must” and added that Kazakhstan, the first ex-Soviet Republic to chair the organization, would concentrate on this goal in the coming months.
Saudabayev also spoke of a need of continuing democratizations of the countries concerned, stressing the importance of sending OSCE observers to the Georgia Parliamentary Elections later this year.
“It might be a slow process but it must be a process that consistently moves in the right direction,” he added.
The President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Joao Soares, and the OSCE Co-Rapporteur on Karabakh, Goran Lenmarker, are expected to travel to the region in the coming weeks where they will hold separate meetings with officials in Yerevan and Baku.
Speaking to the Assembly, Soares praised the OSCE for its willingness to lead unresolved conflicts to their resolution. “We don’t want to be committed to the areas where we are committed now in the future and we avoid such crises and conflicts in future,” he said in his opening remarks. “Thus the role we are about to play is very important.”
According to Klas Bergman, a spokesperson from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the visit will be Soares’s first to the troubled region as the Parliamentary Assembly’s president. Lenmarker will accompany him as a special representative and envoy to Karabakh and Georiga.
“It is an official visit with a lot of discussions and a lot of listening involved on what we can do to move peace process forward,” Bergman said.
“The OSCE has been working hard for many years now and Lennmarker has been very much involved in the region, we are working hard on moving the process forward in Nagorno-Karabakh and we will keep on working,” he said.
Bergman, however, could not give a time-frame for when the OSCE expected to resolve the conflict. “We do not have a date set for success, we don’t think the conflict will be over in such and such time but we will continue to press forward so that the frozen conflicts become unfrozen,” he explained.