OSCE Secretary General Calls for Observance of Ceasefire, Supports Reforms


The OSCE Secretary General, Lamberto Zannier, on an official visit to Armenia today, stressed the importance of strict observance of the ceasefire on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and on the Line  of Contact as a prerequisite for reaching a peaceful solution of the  Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and pledged the OSCE's continued support to  Armenia in its reforms.

     Zannier said the OSCE fully supported the process facilitated by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the efforts of the OSCE Chairperson's Personal Representative in negotiating a peaceful settlement of the conflict. He voiced his concern at the developments on the Line of Contact and on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, especially the targeting of civilians living close to the front lines.

     "There is a clear need to immediately implement measures that would  stabilize the worrying situation and prevent the unacceptable further loss of  lives," he said after his meeting with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan.  "It is essential for both sides to abstain from retaliatory measures that  would lead to further escalation and to remove snipers from the Line of  Contact - this is the message I also delivered in Baku."

     Zannier stressed that promoting confidence-building measures, including  people-to-people contacts, between the conflict sides, as agreed by the  Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Sochi, was a priority for the OSCE.     The Secretary General said that the 20 years of Armenia's participation in  the CSCE/OSCE marked this year was "an important milestone" and welcomed  the reform path that the country had embarked upon.

     "The OSCE stands ready to fully support the country in its profound  regulatory, economic, police, judicial, and democratic reforms, including  through the OSCE Office in Yerevan which has been closely involved in the  reform process," he said.

     Welcoming the peaceful conduct of the parliamentary elections of 6 May,  Zannier also emphasized the importance of addressing in a timely manner the  shortcomings identified by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and  Human Rights' Election Observation Mission, ahead of next year's  presidential elections, in order to "help enhance general confidence in the  process".

     During his visit, the Secretary General will also meet President Serzh  Sargsyan and the Speaker of the National Assembly Hovik Abrahamyan.

     The visit to Yerevan completes the trip of the Secretary General to the South  Caucasus that started in Baku on 8 and 9 July, followed by a visit to Tbilisi  from 9 to 11 July. -0-


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