Secretary General warns of humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh

Published in World
Thursday, 01 October 2020 16:05

Strasbourg, 01.10.2020 - The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, made the following statement today:

“As the armed conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh escalates with a growing number of civilian casualties, I mourn the deaths of the many people, including civilians, who are falling victim to the hostilities. No political considerations can justify the horror and suffering of these women, men and children. I implore all sides of the conflict to immediately cease hostilities and implement without delay the interim measures decided by the European Court of Human Rights. A peaceful solution must be found at the negotiating table to prevent a grave humanitarian crisis.”

The Secretary General reiterated her support to the work of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to this end.

Source: https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/secretary-general-warns-of-humanitarian-crisis-in-nagorno-karabakh

Special meeting of OSCE Permanent Council held on situation in Nagorno-Karabakh context

Published in World
Wednesday, 30 September 2020 10:15

VIENNA, 29 September 2020 – A special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict context was convened at 17:00 local time in Vienna today by Albania’s 2020 OSCE Chairmanship. The meeting was attended by representatives of the OSCE’s 57 participating States.

Opening the meeting, Ambassador Igli Hasani, Chair of the Permanent Council, reiterated the Chairmanship’s alarm at the ongoing clashes and deterioration of the situation on the ground. Dismayed by the rising number of casualties, he repeated the OSCE Chairmanship’s call for an immediate de-escalation and offered condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and injured.

Briefing the Permanent Council, Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, said he was receiving information directly from the ground and local interlocutors at the highest level. Ambassador Kasprzyk said he was in constant communication with the sides, and said his team were ready to resume monitoring on the ground as soon as the situation permits.

Representatives of the Minsk Group Co-Chair countries – France, Russian Federation and the United States of America – reiterated the Co-Chairs’ appeal to all sides to cease hostilities immediately and to resume negotiations to find a sustainable resolution to the conflict.

The Albanian OSCE Chairmanship repeated the importance of a negotiated solution and its support for the work of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and Ambassador Kasprzyk in their efforts to stabilize the situation on the ground.

Source: https://www.osce.org/chairmanship/465225?fbclid=IwAR3bzKHU40IJHkQ4VbAiiYgh1eSFrlZOpuVGT9z1Z23ja-nsnWi5G1p8feU

ARMENIA: SCORES OF ARRESTS AT YEREVAN POLICE STATION PROTEST

Published in World
Thursday, 21 July 2016 15:23

There was tension in Yerevan on Wednesday night as hundreds of demonstrators gathered to support gunmen holding several hostages in a police station in the Armenian capital. The hostage-takers are seeking the release of an opposition figure who was arrested in June for alleged illegal weapons possession.
The police fired tear gas and detonated smoke grenades after protesters began throwing stones at them. They also say they made 136 arrests among the demonstrators. Wednesday’s violence began when protesters tried to force their way into the police station after they were prevented from taking in food for the hostage-takers.
A number of demonstrators were injured and police say several officers were hurt too.At one stage shots were heard but the situation calmed down later in the evening.
Armenian media reported that more than 50 people sought medical treatment in Yerevan hospitals after the clashes. Authorities in the ex-Soviet republic accuse the  detained opposition leader, Jirair Sefilian, of plotting civil unrest. He has accused the president of mishandling a long-running conflict between pro-Armenian separatists and the breakaway Azeri region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

NATO Summit in Warsaw opens in Poland

Published in Politics
Friday, 08 July 2016 15:07

Doorstep statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of the NATO Summit in Warsaw
Good morning,
The Warsaw Summit will be a land mark summit. We meet at a time which is decisive for our shared security. And NATO will once again send a very clear message that we are here to protect and defend all Allies in a new and more challenging security environment. The two main themes of the Summit are deterrence, defence and  projecting stability to our neighbourhood. Strong defence and strong deterrence is the core task of NATO. And we are adapting the Alliance to new threats and new challenges. We will make important decisions at the Summit on how to strengthen our defence and deterrence. We will decide to increase our forward presence in the eastern part of the Alliance with four new battalions, multinational robust battalions and they will send a clear message that an attack on one Ally will be  an attack on the whole Alliance. And we will also increase our presence in the south-eastern part of the Alliance, with tailored multinational presence. NATO doesn’t seek confrontation, we don’t want a new Cold War. The Cold War is history, and it should remain history. But we have to be able also in a more challenging security environment to defend and protect all our Allies.
We will continue to strive for a meaningful and constructive dialogue with Russia. That is important to reduce risks, to increase predictability and to enhance transparency and that is particularly important in times like these.
We will also address how we can project stability to our neighbourhood. Because if our neighbours are stable we are secure. We will step up our support for the international coalition fighting ISIL. I expect the Heads of State and Government to make decisions on support of NATO AWACS surveillance planes. Make decisions on training of Iraqi officers. And also to expand our presence in the Meditarranean, building on our success we have in the Aegean Sea working with the EU, Turkey and Greece.
We will also address many other issues like Afghanistan, Ukraine but I will also mention that here in Warsaw I will singn later on today a declaration with the two Presidents of the European Union. President Tusk and President Juncker and that is an important political platform for further strengthening the cooperation between NATO and the EU. That has been important for a long time, but it is increasingly important when we see the challenges evolving around us so we are looking into how we can step up the coopertion with the EU in areas like answers to hybrid threats, cyber threats and also maritime cooperation and building capacity.
So this will be a landmark summit and the decisions we are going to take together will once again confirm that Europe and North-America stand together, act together, to protect all Allies against any threats.
With that I’m ready for your questions.
QUESTION (PAP): Mr Secretary General, you said about reinforcement of the eastern flank. Can you provide any details about those 4 battalions? Is it enough? Will there be any reinforcement in future?
SECRETARY GENERAL: The 4 battalions will be multinational battalions, meaning that they will send a very a clear message – than an attack on one Ally will trigger the response from the whole Alliance. They will be, the presence of the battalions will be in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia as well as in Poland. And I think it is important to understand that the battalions are only one element in a broader response from NATO.
We have tripled the size of the NATO Response Force to 40,000 troops with a Spearhead Force at its core able to move within a matter of days. We have set up small new headquarters in Poland and other countries in the eastern part of the Alliance which are important for planning, for exercises, but also to facilitate reinforcements if needed. And we have also decided to have more pre-positioned equipment and supplies, and also to have more exercises, sped up our decision-making. So we have done a lot of different things.
So the message is that the battalions are important, but they are important partly because they send a message of a multinational presence. But they are also important because they can facilitate reinforcements if needed, and we have increased our ability to quickly reinforce if needed, any Ally including also of course Poland and the Baltic countries.
QUESTION (Reuters): Secretary General, how can relations with Russia be repaired, between Russia and the West? What needs to happen? Thank you.
SECRETARY GENERAL:  Our relationship with Russia is based on the idea of strong defence, strong deterrence combined with dialogue. And we are going to make decisions on how we strengthen our defence and deterrence. But we will also convey a very, very clear message – we will continue to strive for constructive dialogue with Russia. And I believe that this approach with defence and dialogue is the only viable long-term approach to Russia.
And I appreciate very much that the Alliance stands united behind this approach. We are united in our efforts to increase our defence and deterrence, but we are also united in our efforts to strengthen the dialogue with Russia. And we will have a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council next week, where we will discuss Ukraine, military activity, transparency, risk reduction, and also Afghanistan.
And I think that just to address issues like military activity, risk reduction is important. Because we have seen increased military activity around our borders. Enhanced risk of incidents and accidents. We saw the downing of the Russian plane, and we have to avoid that kinds of incidents and accidents. And that’s the reason why we are also so focused on risk reductions, transparency, to do exactly that.
QUESTION: Mr Secretary General, can you comment on the Dallas shooting? How can NATO help governments to face this kind of internal threat?
SECRETARY GENERAL:  I would like to express my condolences to those who lost loved ones, to their families. These are tragic events, which are still evolving. It is for US authorities to deal with them. And my main message today, especially because it’s too early to say exactly what’s behind, why it happened, is to convey condolences to those who lost their loved ones.
QUESTION (Russian State TV): NATO is coming closer and closer to Russian borders. So it looks like NATO is aggressive, not Russia. And do you really believe that Russia can attack Poland or any other European country? Thanks a lot.
SECRETARY GENERAL:  Poland, the Baltic countries, they are sovereign, independent nations and they have decided by democratic decisions to join NATO. Those decisions are decisions which, of course, NATO respects, that’s the reason why they are members. And we have welcomed them as members of the Alliance. And they are contributing a lot to our Alliance.
It’s their sovereign right to decide their own path, including what kind of security arrangements they want to be part of. We are increasing our military presence in the Baltic countries and Poland, but there is no doubt that is something we do as a response to what Russia did in Ukraine.
No-one talked about any military presence of the kind we now see in Poland and the Baltic countries before Ukraine, before the illegal annexation of Crimea.
What we do is defensive, it is proportionate, and it’s fully in line with our international commitments. And it is no way something that justifies any reactions from Russia. Because it is in all ways defensive measures from the NATO side.
We have seen a more assertive Russia. We have seen a Russia which has been willing to use military force against sovereign nations in Europe. With aggressive actions against Ukraine, the illegal annexation of Crimea. And that’s the reason, the main reason, why we are now increasing our military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.
QUESTION (Ariana News):  Mr Secretary General, what should Afghanistan expect from the Summit? A Russian security advisor has said during a press conference in Kabul that Afghanistan will request NATO to bring pressure on Pakistan. What’s your response on this?
SECRETARY GENERAL:  I expect Heads of State and Government to make three important decisions on Afghanistan. First, to continue our military presence. Not with combat forces, but with a train, assist and advise mission. So we will continue to train, assist and advise the Afghan national army and security forces.
Second, I expect them to make decisions on continued funding of the national Afghan forces.
And I thirdly, I expect the Heads of State and Government also to reconfirm our long-term political partnership, cooperation with Afghanistan.
All these three strands of work are important for us helping Afghanistan stabilise in securing their own country, also to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.
I welcome the efforts by the Afghan government to engage with Pakistan and other countries in the region to enable a peace process and reconciliation. And of course I would like to see all countries in the region participate in these efforts.
QUESTION (Armenian media):  Secretary General, will the summit discuss Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, especially escalation in the border…?
SECRETARY GENERAL:  I expect that in our communique we will address also the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. And the message is that we urge all parties to reduce tensions, to refrain from violence, and to continue to try to find a peaceful and negotiated solution. And we support all the efforts to find a peaceful and negotiated solution to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

 

Armenia faces Eurovision ban for flag-waving

Published in World
Friday, 13 May 2016 16:54

Eurovision Song Contest officials say the entry from Armenia could be banned from the contest for brandishing the flag of the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Iveta Mukuchyan waved the flag during a qualifying round on Tuesday. The separatist region is officially part of Azerbaijan but currently is under the control of the local ethnic Armenian forces.
“All I want to call out, to spread, is that: please, I just want peace on borders. Armenia wants just peace. And this is why I wrote this song. I just want to spread love waves. I wrote the song exactly because this is what is going on inside of me,” Iveta told reporters.
In the run-up to this year’s event, organisers the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) warned both performers and fans not to use flags as political tools. The Geneva-based organisation says the incident was a “serious breach” of its ban on political messages. It said Armenia’s public broadcaster would face sanctions and that “any further breach of the rules of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest could lead to disqualification from this year’s event or any successive editions.”
“I made very clear that it is unacceptable to have this flag in the Green Room during the grand final. And if that would actually happen, there would be more severe consequences, which could actually lead to disqualification in this year’s song contest or an exclusion from the Eurovision song contest for the next 3 years,” said spokesperson Sietse Bakker.

Armenia faces Eurovision ban for flag-waving

Published in World
Friday, 13 May 2016 16:54

Eurovision Song Contest officials say the entry from Armenia could be banned from the contest for brandishing the flag of the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Iveta Mukuchyan waved the flag during a qualifying round on Tuesday. The separatist region is officially part of Azerbaijan but currently is under the control of the local ethnic Armenian forces.
“All I want to call out, to spread, is that: please, I just want peace on borders. Armenia wants just peace. And this is why I wrote this song. I just want to spread love waves. I wrote the song exactly because this is what is going on inside of me,” Iveta told reporters.
In the run-up to this year’s event, organisers the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) warned both performers and fans not to use flags as political tools. The Geneva-based organisation says the incident was a “serious breach” of its ban on political messages. It said Armenia’s public broadcaster would face sanctions and that “any further breach of the rules of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest could lead to disqualification from this year’s event or any successive editions.”
“I made very clear that it is unacceptable to have this flag in the Green Room during the grand final. And if that would actually happen, there would be more severe consequences, which could actually lead to disqualification in this year’s song contest or an exclusion from the Eurovision song contest for the next 3 years,” said spokesperson Sietse Bakker.

CoE-Georgian cooperation is improving even more-Thorbjørn Jagland

Published in Politics
Thursday, 21 April 2016 09:25

Lately, CoE-Georgian cooperation is improving even more, - the Secretary General of Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland declared after his meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia, during the joint press conference.
The Secretary General discussed the importance of the Action Plan and the recent developments in the occupied regions of Georgia.
"The Council of Europe requires support to obtain full access to the developments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We intend to implement certain measures and the Government of Georgia fully supports us. The CoE has to utilize al instruments to protect the human rights of the residents of these regions," - Thorbjørn Jagland declared.
Prime Minister emphasized the importance of the visit of Secretary General in Tbilisi.
Pursuant to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the visit of the Secretary General and the Chair of the Committee of Ministers, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Mr. Daniel Mitov this May in Tbilisi aims at launching the new Action Plan for Georgia 2016-2019, which is a new stage and a new impetus in our cooperation.
"We have discussed the issues of our cooperation, outlined the importance of ambitious and complex reforms carried out by the Government of Georgia since 2012, as a critical component for building strong democratic institutions in our country. During the meeting special attention was paid to the human rights situation in the occupied regions of Georgia. I have informed the SG on the recent developments in Georgia's occupied regions, including the statements on possible referendum in the Tskhinvali occupied region on the accession to the RF," - Prime Minister noted.
Prime Minister thanked the Secretary General for the fruitful cooperation and noted that the Government of Georgia is ready to continue reforms in the areas of human rights protection, improvement of judiciary system and building of democratic institutions.
The Secretary General and Prime Minister responded to the questions of the journalists.
Pursuant to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, an important meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker was conducted the day before. He expressed readiness to support visa liberalization process with Georgia within the existing framework.
Prime Minister hopes that the Committee of the European parliament will adopt a positive decision on the relevant issue.
"We continue bilateral support with or European partners to ensure consolidation of the existing support by the next meeting concerning visa issues, which will be held in the beginning of May. We are optimistic about this process and will spare no effort to attain this goal" - Prime Minister noted. 
The Secretary general positively evaluated the preelection environment in Georgia and as a response to the posed question, Thorbjørn Jagland declared that the Prime Minister already updated him about the planned elections and Georgia has already invited international missions, including ODIHR under the OSCE and they will evaluate the voting procedures.
The question concerning Nagorno-Karabakh was also posed. Giorgi Kvirikashvili reiterated his strong support towards the peaceful settlement of the conflict.
Pursuant to Prime Minister, Georgia is interested in peace in the South Caucasus and expresses readiness to offer its territory for peaceful negotiations.
"We are pleased to see recent de-escalation and we look forward to peaceful settlement of the conflict", - Giorgi Kvirikashvili noted.
Prime Minister also responded to the question from "Radio Liberty" concerning his tomorrow's speech during the PACE Session.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili will accentuate the achieved progress and planned reforms.
"New rating by "Journalists without Borders", according to which, Georgia has improved its positions by 36 points and is ahead of many European countries. Georgia ranks 64th among 180 countries. However, we shall not be pleased with these achievements and we have to continue reforms in the areas of human rights protection, rule of law and building European institutions. That is why we are here today and we discuss the Action Plan, to ensure that Georgia becomes truly European state with European institutions, where the highest standards of human rights protection, rule of law and democratic institutions will be attained. Tomorrow I will elaborate on planned and implemented reforms to build up a firm belief among our European counterparts that Georgia is truly European state and implementation of these reforms is a top priority for us," - Giorgi Kvirikashvili noted.

John Tefft and Grigory Karasin discussed the situation in Georgia

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 19 April 2016 16:08

The main issue of the discussion between US Ambassador in Russia, John Tefft and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin was the situation in Georgia. According to the official statement of Russian Foreign Ministry, the sides discussed the security measures in Caucasus region , including Nagorno-Karabakh. They also discussed Ukraine crisis and the situation in Moldova. 

Defence Minister makes comment regarding the current developments in Nagorno-Karabakh

Published in military
Thursday, 07 April 2016 12:15

Minister of Defence of Georgia made comment regarding the current developments in Nagorno-Karabakh in the interview with journalists.

“The main task of Georgia is to do everything to insure stability of the region and particularly for Georgia. Therefore we are appealing to the international community to make all the efforts to insure achieving decision on cease fire. This is the main task today being discussed at any negotiation table. I hope that the talks ongoing in different European cities will finish successfully. Besides that the information spread about the statements made by the U.S. Secretary of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is promising. We all know well enough that such conflicts are frequently resolved through a dialogue. Maintaining of regional stability is extremely important for Georgia and this is our key task by this moment”, said Defence Minister. 

Foreign Minister has held a telephone conversation with his Armenian counterpart

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 05 April 2016 10:40

Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze held a telephone conversation with his Armenian colleague Edward Nalbandyan.  The Georgian Foreign Minister expressed his extreme concern over the recent escalation of situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone along the line of contact, which resulted in casualties, inter alia, among peaceful population.
According to Mikheil Janelidze, cessation of hostilities and ensuring peace on the ground  is of vital importance.The Georgian Foreign Minister underlined that continuation of  military actions will aggravate the current situation and will have a negative impact on the stability in the region.
During the conversation, Mikheil Janelidze put particular emphasis on the need to use all possible formats to de-escalate the situation through the involvement of international community. 

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