Special Co-ordinator Harstedt continues pre-electoral work in Belarus, meets with President Lukashenko
COPENHAGEN, 31 August 2016 – OSCE PA Vice-President Kent Harstedt (MP, Sweden), who is serving as Special Co-ordinator to lead the OSCE’s short-term observer mission for the 11 September parliamentary elections in Belarus, continued his pre-electoral work this week by meeting with President Alexander Lukashenko, Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei.
In the discussions, Harstedt encouraged greater public space and more initiatives for pluralism and democracy, while the Belarusian side expressed readiness to discuss any topical issues with the OSCE.
Meeting with President Lukashenko Tuesday, Harstedt stressed his view that the upcoming elections are an opportunity to further Belarus’s development. “These elections should not be viewed through the prism of geopolitics but rather as a chance for increasing openness and dialogue in the country,” Harstedt said. “I hope the elections, along with efforts at reform and democratization, ultimately contribute to building a strong and independent Belarus.”
OSCE PA Vice-President Guliyev addresses nuclear disarmament conference, holds bilateral meetings in Kazakhstan
ASTANA, 30 August 2016 – Following his address Monday at the international conference “Building a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World” in Astana, Kazakhstan, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Vice-President Azay Guliyev (MP, Azerbaijan) met today with the Chairmen of the Senate and Majlis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev – who also serves as Head of Kazakhstan's OSCE PA Delegation – and Nurlan Nigmatulin.
In the meetings, Guliyev expressed appreciation for the strong role that the Kazakh Parliament plays in the OSCE PA and discussed prospects for continued co-operation. The sides also discussed how to further consolidate co-operation between OSCE PA and all Central Asian countries, with the Kazakh parliamentarians expressing firm political will to further develop their relationship and deepen co-operation with the OSCE PA.
The Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana, Ambassador György Szabo, also attended the meetings.
COPENHAGEN, 27 August 2016 – The forced commitment to a psychiatric clinic of Ilmi Umerov represents a worrying new low in Russia’s stigmatization of the Crimean Tatar community and should be immediately reversed, said the Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's human rights committee, Ignacio Sanchez Amor (MP, Spain) today.
“Already facing charges for simply having the courage to speak his mind, Russian authorities are now using an old and particularly worrying tactic to try and silence Umerov,” said Sanchez Amor. “This ugly allegation of mental instability is a transparent attempt to punish Ilmi Umerov for speaking out in favour of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. I call for the immediate reversal of this decision and the release of Mr. Umerov.”
Ilmi Umerov, Deputy Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, which was banned in April, is facing prosecution for reportedly saying during an interview earlier this year that “Russia must be forced to leave Crimea and Donbas.” Earlier this month a court ordered Umerov to undergo psychiatric testing and he was subsequently committed to Simferopol’s Psychiatric Hospital No. 1 for a 28-day period.
OSCE PA President Muttonen condemns bombing of wedding party in Gaziantep, Turkey, reiterates solidarity
COPENHAGEN, 21 August 2016 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Christine Muttonen (MP, Austria) issued the following statement in response to an apparent terrorist attack that has killed at least 50 people in Gaziantep, Turkey, Saturday night.
"I am deeply saddened by this horrific attack, the latest in a dreadful series of terrorist bombings to have struck Turkey. My heart goes out to those affected, and I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the victims. Terror has once again struck down too many innocent people, on a day that should have been filled with joy and excitement for the wedding couple.
"I utterly condemn this attack on behalf of OSCE parliamentarians. Having just visited Turkey earlier this week to learn more about last month's attempted coup and its aftermath, I want to reiterate our solidarity and the readiness of the OSCE to support Turkey as it addresses the many challenges facing the country."