February 05
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COPENHAGEN.  – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Special Representative on South Caucasus Joao Soares will visit Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia next week to discuss developments in the region regarding democratic reforms and unresolved conflicts.

Soares will start his tour in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 5-7 May where he will discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the upcoming presidential election.

He will then travel to Tbilisi, Georgia, from 7-9 May where he will be joined by OSCE PA President Wolfgang Grossruck, OSCE PA said in a statement.  In addition to fulfilling the mandate of the Special Representative in promoting dialogue and developing confidence-building measures in the region, the, stop in Georgia will also serve as a follow-up to the October 2012 election observation mission and prepare for a potential observation of this autumn’s presidential election.

Soares intends to visit Yerevan, Armenia, from 9-11 May to continue discussions on Nagorno-Karabakh and also follow-up to on February’s presidential election. Deputy Secretary General Tina Schoen and Secretary of the Portuguese Delegation Nuno Paixao will travel with Soares to all the three countries. Secretary of the Austrian Delegation Lukas Mussi will travel to Georgia with President Grossruck.

“The protracted conflicts are the most urgent problems as they hinder development in the entire region,” Soares said. “I think there is a need to promote broader discussion in the Assembly about the conflicts, and I hope that my visits to the region will help ensure those discussions take place.”

A former president of the OSCE PA, Soares was appointed Special Representative on South Caucasus in July 2011. He also serves as deputy head of Portugal’s delegation to the OSCE PA and as a member of the OSCE PA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Transparency and Reform of the OSCE.

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