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Armenia has always been a strong advocate for advancing the indivisible security in the OSCE area and has continuously contributed to the discussions aimed at reinvigoration of the framework of arms control and CSBMs.

Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian on Thursday said the aforementioned in his address at the 24th meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council, in Vienna.

“Building trust and confidence does not rest only with the first dimension,” he added. “We strongly believe that the economic and environmental basket of our Organization has an untapped potential. In this regard the OSCE could be a natural platform for promoting an inclusive dialogue between participating States, including on regional integration processes.

“About two weeks ago Armenia signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the European Union. It vividly demonstrated that the membership to one integration framework, in the case of Armenia to the Eurasian Economic Union, does not preclude cooperation with the others. We hope that pragmatic and result oriented dialogue will be the driving force of the economic cooperation in the whole OSCE area.

“We would also like to emphasize Armenia’s contribution to the human dimension of our activities and highlight in this regard our effective cooperation with the OSCE institutions. The April Parliamentary elections in Armenia demonstrated that the progress achieved in upholding fundamental freedoms is irreversible and sustainable and we acknowledge the contribution of the OSCE institutions in this regard.

“We are glad that the theme of protection of the ethnic and religious groups from identity based violence and atrocities especially in our neighboring region – in the Middle East, is getting more and more attention within the OSCE. Armenia has been among the first to raise this issue and support the strengthening of the OSCE commitments in this regard. The further development of effective measures to counter hate crime and discrimination against Christians and members of other religions was the main focus of the recent high-level conference in Yerevan, co-organized by the OSCE Chairmanship and ODIHR with the support of the Armenian Foreign Ministry.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,

“The Ministerial Councils provide an opportunity to talk about the achievements and vision for the future. However, it is equally important not to omit to address the setbacks of the Organization in an open and candid manner.

“The consequences of the closure of the OSCE Office in Yerevan pertain to very essence of the OSCE, which is designed to settle the issues through dialogue and cooperation and never through imposing the position of one participating State at the expense of all others and the entire Organization. It created a very negative precedent. The refusal of Azerbaijan to join the consensus on the extension of the mandate of the Office damaged not merely the integrity of the field missions of the OSCE, but its capacity of inclusive cooperation. Azerbaijan failed to respect the OSCE commitments and eliminated the OSCE Office in its own country before it attacked and closed the last OSCE full-fledged mission in the region. It is particularly deplorable that the Office was closed against the will and consistent efforts for its preservation exerted by the host country and all participating States with one exception - Azerbaijan. We would like to recall that both German and Austrian Chairmanships rejected the accusations of Azerbaijan against Yerevan Office. It does not come as a surprise that Azerbaijan found itself in isolation in challenging the OSCE Office in Yerevan.

“We are determined to continue our close cooperation within the OSCE framework. The “Armenia cooperation programme” opens good opportunities in this regard.

“Mr. Chairman,

“In conclusion, I would like to assure Italy, the incoming Chair that it can count on Armenia’s support. I would also like to welcome Slovakia’s joining the Troika.”

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