2015 AM Opening CompositeEnkhbold Zandaakhuu, Chairman of the State Great Hural of Mongolia (top left), and Elbegdorj Tsakhia, President of Mongolia (top right), address the opening session of the OSCE PA Autumn Meeting in Ulaanbaatar, 16 September 2015.

ULAANBAATAR, 16 September 2015 – Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia and Parliament Chairman Enkhbold Zandaakhuu today opened the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 2015 Autumn Meeting, which has brought together nearly 200 parliamentarians from across the OSCE’s 57 participating States in Ulaanbaatar.

Hosted by the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia, the Meeting is focusing on continuing and emerging security concerns for the OSCE area and the role of parliamentarians in fostering co-operation to address those concerns. 

Topics to be addressed in presentations and parliamentary debate include the situation in and around Ukraine, refugee crises and human trafficking, counter-terrorism, food and water security, the development of democratic institutions and human rights issues.

In his opening address to parliamentarians, President Tsakhia said that despite acute challenges to Eurasian security, including the Ukrainian and refugee crises, there is cause for hope:

“Humankind still possesses the means and the opportunities to solve any emerging challenge… We [also] have the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Some of the challenges are spilling over the boundaries of one continent and this necessitates creating security and open co-operation mechanisms that cross [wide areas]. I am confident that the OSCE can serve as the best model for engagement and dialogue and cross-continental co-operation and shall be a leader in finding the solutions to the most pressing issues,” he said.

Parliament Chairman Zandaakhuu noted that the 2015 Autumn Meeting coincides with the 25th anniversary of Mongolia’s first democratic elections, which led to the establishment of a permanent parliamentary system in the country. The Parliament’s decision to host the Autumn Meeting is a testament to its belief in democratic dialogue, he said:

“Today countless complicated issues still exist in many corners of the world. This calls for improved coherence and communication among international organizations, the furthering of close co-operation and the necessity to comply with decisions and recommendations… Honorable parliamentarians, the representatives of your people, I have full confidence in you all to reach a common consensus through thorough discussions and multiple approaches to the given issues,” the Chairman said.

OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva also addressed the Assembly’s opening session, offering wide-ranging remarks on pressing security issues that parliamentarians will discuss in the coming days.

“Regarding the crisis in and around Ukraine, our dialogue must also be in support of the Minsk Agreements, which are the only viable solution. I welcome the fact that the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine has largely held in the past several weeks. I look forward to the day when local elections can be held throughout all of Ukraine. And I look forward to the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” President Kanerva said.

“There is another crisis now raging in the OSCE area, and it is also one that urgently requires constructive dialogue: That is the migrant and refugee crisis…Europe can and simply must do more to respond, and do so with solidarity and compassion,” he said.

President Kanerva also congratulated Mongolia on its landmark anniversary and urged fellow OSCE participating States to learn from the country’s swift adoption of democratic standards.

Russian Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin, Ukrainian OSCE PA Delegation Head Artur Gerasymov and Deputy Speaker of the Afghan Parliament Mohammad Nazir Ahmadzai were among parliamentarians from more than a dozen countries to participate in an opening general debate.

Later on 16 September, President Kanerva and OSCE PA Secretary General Spencer Oliver met with Speaker Naryshkin and other members of the Russian Delegation to the OSCE PA. 

The President indicated that he remains supportive of EU sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in the context of the Ukraine crisis. He also informed Speaker Naryshkin of his efforts to ensure that sanctions against individuals do not inhibit parliamentary dialogue.

President Kanerva also hosted a separate meeting with members of the Russian and Ukrainian Delegations.

The sides held a constructive discussion regarding potential mechanisms for the parliamentary side to support implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

The 2015 Autumn Meeting will also consider trends and issues of particular relevance to countries in the eastern part of the OSCE area. A special roundtable on Central Asia featuring the Heads of OSCE field presences in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan is also scheduled for today.

Speeches, video, photos and more from the Autumn Meeting are available on: http://www.oscepa.org/meetings/autumn-meetings/2015-mongolia