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Armenian Delegation Invited OSCE PA President to Visit Artsakh and Meet the Authorities There: Hermine Naghdalyan (EXCLUSIVE)

The work of the winter session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly kicked off in Vienna on February 22. ''Armedia'' IAA presents an interview with Hermine Naghdalyan, the head of the Armenian delegation to the OSCE PA and a Deputy of the National Assembly of the RA on the main discussions of the first day of the session. 


- Mrs. Naghdalyan, yesterday, on February 22, the OSCE PA winter session kicked off. What are the key issues on the agenda?

- Yes, yesterday the OSCE PA winter session started in Vienna. Our delegation composed of five people participates in this session. Besides me, Tigran Urikhanyan and Ararat Mirzoyan are in the main group, while Karen Bekaryan and Arman Saghatelyan are the substitutes. This session is distinguished by the fact that no documents will be adopted like it will be during the July session. Instead, preparations for the Assembly are being held ahead of the July 2018 session. Various committees have thematic discussions, and reporters present their ideas and thoughts on future reports. This is the basic content of the Winter Session. During these discussions, reporters from all committees present their vision, thoughts and ideas.

The session began with the Standing Committee meeting and for the first time the Assembly session were led by the member of the Georgian Delegation, George Tsereteli, who was appointed as the President of the Assembly. In his opening speech, Mr. Tsereteli presented the work he had done after his appointment. In his speech, he emphasized that the OSCE is a platform for dialogue that is guided by the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, noting that these principles are indivisible and cannot be changed. The President of the Assembly also presented the priorities of his work: intensification of the efforts to resolve conflicts, protection of human rights  throughout the OSCE area, including in unrecognized states.

The main and the most important idea voiced during yesterday's debate was that the OSCE is a platform for dialogue, but it is not a dialogue for dialogue, but a dialogue for the results.

At the joint meeting of the three main committees, the speeches by Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Vincenzo Amendola and OSCE Secretary General, Ambassador Thomas Graminger, were quite interesting. Most of all, highlighting the priorities, they also pointed out the importance of activating the conflict resolution processes. Referring to the Karabakh conflict, he stated that they support the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group aimed at the peaceful settlement of the conflict, as well as the activation of the meetings of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the expansion of the Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office 

The OSCE Secretary General, in turn, presented his approaches to the OSCE reform, based on the OSCE's consolidation and the issue of modernizing it in line with today's realities. In this context, he developed a political approach called 3P. It implies an inclusive dialogue, an expansion of informal dialogue platforms, the result of which should be the elaboration of a unifying agenda in the OSCE region. As the second component of the 3P approach, he pointed out the expansion of security processes, their activation for solving security issues, and as the third component, the creation of new offices for contacts.

- How would you assess the work of the Armenian delegation at this session?

- Our delegation is quite active at this session. We made speeches and talked with the OSCE officials about the issues we are concerned about. In my speech, I emphasized that we attach importance to the cooperation between Armenia and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and soon its President's visit to Yerevan will take place after the election of the President of the Republic of Armenia and the formation of a new government. I mentioned that Armenia highly appreciates the role of parliamentary diplomacy in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, stressing that we appreciate the political support that the OSCE PA demonstrates towards the negotiation process, especially excluding the use of force. In my speech, I called on the Parliamentary Assembly to support the implementation of the agreements reached during Vienna, Saint Petersburg and Geneva summits, noting that Azerbaijan refuses to fulfill its commitments.



Karen Bekaryan also spoke on the issue of conflict resolution and democracy, the importance of human rights protection in unrecognized states. He also touched upon the importance of rhetoric, highlighting three levels: high-ranking officials, textbooks and media rhetoric. He stressed that we should talk about human rights every day and every moment, otherwise we will have a situation like in Turkey.

Arman Saghatelyan in turn delivered a speech on media freedom and fake news. Let me mention that the speeches were not limited to one. Taking into account the interest of the delegates on the subject, they made speeches for 2-3 times.

We asked the OSCE Secretary General Mr. Greminger about their Office in Yerevan. He noted that despite the fact that both the host country and many other countries were against the closure of the office, such a decision was made because the OSCE regulation is such that a country veto works. At the same time, he added that only 4-5 weeks after the closure of the office, the Secretariat worked out its program to continue and expand cooperation with Armenia. The project has been submitted to the OSCE member states and now it is being negotiated so that Armenia is able to continue its cooperation with the OSCE through new tools.

Addressing the Deputy Foreign Minister of Italy, we tried to clarify the position of the Italian Presidency concerning the expansion of the Office of Casperchik and the introduction of other confidence-building measures, in which agreements have already been reached. Amendola mentioned that they support the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and will do their utmost to help them.

Taking into account the priorities of the OSCE PA President, the Armenian delegation proposed him to visit Artsakh and meet with the authorities there. We have also touched upon the isolation policy towards Armenia in the region, stressing that the OSCE should not allow any country's isolation and any dividing lines. We emphasized the importance of the contacts of the OSCE Special Representative with the people of Artsakh, its leadership,  getting acquainted with the situation on the spot and getting information from the first hand.

I would also like to mention that Tigran Urikhanyan is preparing a draft statement on cyberspace. Together with Ararat Mirzoyan and our other delegates, he is currently discussing the topic with various delegates. I hope Mr. Urikhanyan's statement will be receive his colleagues' trust and we will be able to pass this important document during the July session.

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