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2014-VISIT-Turkmenistan-Voisin-Mariani-MeredovOSCE PA Special Representatives Michel Voisin (left) and Thierry Mariani (right) greet Rashid Meredov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan (center), on 13 December in Ashgabat.COPENHAGEN, 17 December 2014 – Special Representatives from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly have completed a visit to Turkmenistan, where they emphasized the importance of engagement and dialogue with the OSCE in meetings with government and parliamentary leaders.

Thierry Mariani (MP, France), the OSCE PA's Special Representative for Central Asia, paired with Michel Voisin (MP, France), the OSCE PA's Special Representative for Afghanistan, for the four-day visit.

The delegation held meetings with Rashid Meredov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan; Akdja Nurberdiyeva, Chairperson of the Mejlis (Parliament) of Turkmenistan; Gulmyrat Myradov, the Chairman of the Central Election Commission; and representatives of the Ministry of Adalat (Justice) and the Supreme Court.

The Special Representatives also met with members of Turkmenistan's Delegation to the PA and expressed appreciation for their renewed participation in the Assembly's activities.

"Turkmenistan still needs to make progress in a number of spheres. We have learned with interest about ongoing legislative reforms and emphasized the importance of engaging civil society in the process. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will be carefully following the application of these reforms in practice and stands ready to support the country in its development," Mariani said.

During their visit the Special Representatives also met with the Head of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, Ivo Petrov; UN Resident Co-ordinator and Resident Representative Jacinta Barrins; UNRCCA Deputy Head of Mission Fedor Klimtchouk; and representatives of the women's rights NGO Keik Okara.

Special Representative Voisin said: "The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly strongly supports the work of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat and in particular, its important ongoing project on patrol training at the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan border. We recognize the security concerns posed by Turkmenistan's tough neighborhood and believe that increasing engagement with the international community will help the country to better address them."

During the visit the OSCE PA International Secretariat and the OSCE Centre also organized a briefing on the modalities of the Assembly's work for Turkmenistan's Delegation to the OSCE PA.

OSCE parliamentarians last visited Turkmenistan in December 2013 to conduct an Election Assessment Field Visit for the country's parliamentary elections.

For photos of the Special Representatives' visit, click here.