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Statement On the Update of the Extension of the Mandate of the OSCE Office in Yerevan delivered by the Delegation of Armenia at the 1144th Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council

04.05.2017

 

Mr. Chairperson,

We took note of the information of the Austrian Chairmanship on the current state of affairs regarding the extension of the mandate of the OSCE Office in Yerevan.

We reiterate our firm support to the OSCE Office in Yerevan, its mandate and activities.

Armenia has demonstrated good faith and constructive approach in its efforts to help the OSCE Chairmanship to overcome the stalemate imposed by apparent attempts of one participating State, namely Azerbaijan to close the last OSCE full-fledged mission in the South Caucasus.

First, despite the clear-cut assessment of the OSCE previous German and current Austrian Chairmanships and the OSCE Secretariat that the Office did not violate its mandate by engaging in humanitarian demining activities, the Armenian side, as a gesture of good will and for the sake of contributing to the solution of this issue, agreed to the proposal of the Austrian Chairmanship to request the Office to abstain from this programmatic activity.

Second, the Armenian side agreed to another proposal of the Austrian Chairmanship to deliver a statement on behalf of the OSCE Troika which would reflect the understanding that the activities of the Office do not encompass the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution. We agreed to this compromise despite the fact that the gentlemen’s agreement on non-interference in the conflict resolution matters referred to both OSCE Offices in Yerevan and Baku and has never been formalized in a written form. After Azerbaijan closed the Baku Office, the Yerevan Office has not been bound unilaterally by the said understanding. However, the Office has never executed any activity within the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution.

Finally, following the visit of the former President of Austria Heinz Fischer, Armenia gave its consent to formalize the above understanding in a written form as a draft decision on the extension of the mandate.

To put the record straight we attach to this statement the final version of the draft decision on the extension of the mandate of the OSCE Office in Yerevan to which Armenia gave its consent. It vividly demonstrates Armenia’s resolve to save the Office amid Azerbaijan’s consistently increasing unsubstantiated claims that have only one objective: to close the OSCE Office in Yerevan.    

Mr. Chairperson,

During this period Azerbaijan has consistently derailed all the proposals made by two consecutive Chairmanships and their distinguished dignitaries, OSCE Secretariat and interested delegations. Azerbaijani side singlehandedly has been breaking the consensus on the extension of the mandate of the OSCE Office in Yerevan and impeding the work of the OSCE by a manipulative exercise.

Azerbaijan started blocking the decision first by referring to the absence of instructions from the capital, then it demanded removal of one programmatic activity. However, Azerbaijan rejected to join the consensus even when the Office suspended the said programmatic activity. Then Azerbaijan refused to agree to the Chairmanship’s statement reflecting the understanding on the mandate of the Office, afterwards it insisted on the formalizing of the understanding in a form of a draft decision and finally once all these points were met it brought new unrelated demands, which are apparently designed to kill the draft decision on the extension of mandate.  Azerbaijan went so far as to insist on the definition of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which is in contradiction to the language of the OSCE Summits and Ministerial Councils, as well as its own statements adopted together with Armenia and the Minsk Group Co-Chair countries.

Mr. Chairperson,

Azerbaijan has already downgraded and then closed OSCE Office in Baku and as it moves towards closure of another Office in South Caucasus a clear reaction of the Organization is required.

The OSCE Office in Yerevan has been a common endeavor of OSCE, its Chairmanship, Secretariat and all participating states. It is an asset of the entire Organization, not a bilateral dispute, as Azerbaijan tries to portray. The negative impact of this situation created by Azerbaijan threatens to go far beyond merely the issue of an OSCE Office and may well challenge the integrity of the field missions and the principles of cooperation and good will which lay in the foundation of this Organization. Undoubtedly, the closure of the Office by Azerbaijan will lead to a number of implications.

It is regrettable, that the Austrian Chairmanship despite all its efforts has not been able to clearly acknowledge destructive policy of Azerbaijan towards the last full-fledged OSCE mission in South Caucasus and protect the integrity of the OSCE field missions. Azerbaijan exploited this opportunity to increasingly harden its destructive position towards the OSCE integrity. The conclusion, which our Delegation may reluctantly draw from this process is that in this consensus-based Organization even the long established and exemplary activities of the OSCE can become a casualty to narrow interests of a single participating State in the environment of absence of the appropriate reaction.

It is in this environment that a participating State, like Azerbaijan, with a dire record of non-compliance to the OSCE commitments dares to challenge everything that this Organization stands for, namely the security and cooperation in Europe.

I request this statement be attached to the journal of the day.   

Thank You.

 

Attachment

 

 

Draft Decision

 

PP1

noting the wish of all participating states to continue co-operation in all three OSCE dimensions between the OSCE and the Republic of Armenia through a continued OSCE presence and activities in the country under the existing mandate of the OSCE Office in Yerevan,

 

PP2

Recalling the statements of German Chairmanship (CIO.GAL/223/16 31 December 2016) and Austrian Chairmanship (CIO.GAL/10/17 30 January 2017) on the extension of the mandate of the OSCE Office in Yerevan and the long standing understanding according to which, since its establishment, the activities of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, do not touch upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution,

 

OP1

The Permanent Council decides to extend the mandate of the OSCE Office in Yerevan until 31 December 2017.