OSCE Chairperson visits Georgia, reiterates support for peaceful settlement of conflict, democratic reform

February 17. OSCE

OSCE Chairperson visits Georgia, reiterates support for peaceful settlement of conflict, democratic reformThe OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Secretary of State and Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Kanat Saudabayev, during his visit to Georgia today reiterated the OSCE’s support of the Geneva Discussions, and the Organization’s readiness to support democratic reform processes, including elections.

“Addressing protracted conflicts, including those in the South Caucasus, is one of the top priorities of the Kazakhstan’s OSCE Chairmanship,” he said, following a meeting with Foreign Minister Gregory Vashadze. “We are strongly committed to continuing our efforts aimed at assisting peaceful resolution of the conflict, based on the work carried out by our predecessors.”

Saudabayev said he believed that shared history of the people of Georgia and Kazakhstan, the first ex-Soviet country to chair the Organization, will be important to achieving possible progress.

He welcomed Georgia’s commitment to resolve the outstanding problems within the framework of the Geneva Discussions. “No matter how difficult and complex the process may be, we strongly believe that maintaining the ongoing dialogue is vitally important, and the only way forward,” he said. “We welcome Georgia’s constructive and pragmatic approach to the talks.”

The Geneva Discussions started in October 2008. The OSCE co-chairs the discussions, along with the EU and the UN.

Chairperson-in-Office has called for the resumption of activities of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) dealing with Georgian-Ossetian issues, which has not met since October 2009. “The holding of regular IPRM meetings is crucial to promote communication and reduce tensions on the ground,” he said. “We believe the OSCE could contribute to the work of the IPRM.”

Saudabayev reiterated the OSCE’s readiness to support Georgia in its democratic reform process. “We believe that the upcoming municipal elections in May will provide opportunities for Georgia to further demonstrate its commitment to political pluralism and international standards for free and fair elections,” he said. “We welcome the invitation extended by the Georgian authorities to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to observe the elections.” The ODIHR’s needs assessment mission was deployed to Georgia on 16 February and will stay until 18 February.

Saudabayev expressed gratitude to the Georgian leadership for its participation in realizing the initiative to hold an OSCE summit in 2010.

Saudabayev also met representatives of political parties of Georgia, and will meet David Bakradze, Chairman of the Parliament, later today.

The visit to Tbilisi concludes the South Caucasus trip of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. He visited Azerbaijan on Monday and Yerevan on Tuesday.