2016 VISIT Vigenin and Aliyev mtg   270516Special Representative Kristian Vigenin (left) meets with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Baku, 27 May 2016 (Courtesy: President of Azerbaijan's official website)BAKU, 28 May 2016 – Concluding a two-day visit to Azerbaijan today, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on the South Caucasus Kristian Vigenin (MP, Bulgaria) reiterated the need for increased parliamentary communication in favour of efforts for a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In Baku, the Special Representative met with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Speaker of the Parliament of Azerbaijan Ogtay Asadov, Minister for Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov, and members of the Azerbaijani delegation to the OSCE PA.

“It is time to replace the status quo, which continues to have unacceptable human consequences, with efforts that can finally bring peace to this troubled region,” said the Special Representative.

“The recent agreements on finalizing an OSCE investigative mechanism and expanding the OSCE presence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone are important positive steps. In both Azerbaijan and Armenia, I have urged authorities to build on these developments in the near future. On the parliamentary level, I plan to continue working with parliamentarians from the region and beyond to increase broad-based political will in favour of a comprehensive settlement,” continued Vigenin.

The Special Representative reiterated that there is no military solution to the conflict, calling on all sides to stop aggressive rhetoric and to make space for more constructive efforts for peace. He also expressed support for the Minsk Process.

“The Minsk Group and its Co-Chairs have my full support in their efforts to facilitate a peaceful solution. To support the official efforts, in the coming weeks I will propose some concrete ideas to my colleagues for further communication and exchanges at the parliamentary level,” said Vigenin, noting that the OSCE PA Annual Session in Tbilisi, 1-5 July would serve as an opportunity for initial discussions.

While in Baku, Vigenin participated in an official celebration on the occasion of Azerbaijan's Republic Day.

“I was pleased to personally convey my appreciation for the recent releases of a number of human rights defenders and opposition politicians from prison in Azerbaijan. The momentum of these positive developments should be capitalized on, and I hope to see more efforts by the authorities to improve the space for NGOs to work and contribute to all aspects of society in Azerbaijan,” said Vigenin.

The visit to Azerbaijan follows meetings earlier this week in Armenia and in Georgia, where Vigenin held a range of high-level meetings.

Vigenin was appointed Special Representative on the South Caucasus by OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva in February 2016. In his mandate, he is tasked with promoting dialogue in all segments of society, in particular at the parliamentary level, in order to encourage reconciliation and rehabilitation with regard to the protracted conflicts in the region.

This week’s visit is his first to the region as Special Representative. Vigenin is a former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria and currently serves as Deputy Head of the OSCE PA's Bulgarian delegation.

To watch a recent interview in which he discusses his priorities as Special Representative, please click here. For photos of Vigenin's visit to the region, click here.