OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Centre in Ashgabat hold seminar for Turkmen MPs on parliamentary activities

2015 VISIT Mariani Aknazarova TurkmenistanOSCE PA Special Representative Thierry Mariani speaks at the seminar alongside Gurbangul Bayramova, Deputy Chairperson of the Mejlis (centre), and Roza Aknazarova, Сhairperson of the OSCE PA's Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, 14 April 2015ASHGABAT, 15 April 2015 – Lawmakers from Turkmenistan discussed the activities of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and opportunities to deepen their engagement in its work at a seminar conducted by the OSCE PA and the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat this week.

The seminar, hosted by the Turkmen parliament, Mejlis, on 14-15 April, featured presentations by Thierry Mariani (MP, France), the OSCE PA's Special Representative for Central Asia; Roza Aknazarova (MP, Kyrgyzstan), the Сhairperson of the OSCE PA's Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment; and OSCE PA Programme Officer Maria Chepurina.

"This seminar marks a new step in co-operation between the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly," said Ambassador Ivo Petrov, the Head of the Centre, in a message to participants.

"The OSCE Centre initiated this event so that MPs from different OSCE participating States could exchange their experiences of working in the Assembly with their colleagues from Turkmenistan. It is my strong belief that our seminar will contribute to enhanced involvement of Mejlis members in the PA's activities and, as a result, strengthened co-operation between the Mejlis and parliaments of other OSCE countries," he added.

Following a welcome address by Akdja Nurberdiyeva, the Chairperson of the Mejlis and the Head of Turkmenistan's Delegation to the OSCE PA, Mariani, Aknazarova and Chepurina briefed more than 20 MPs in attendance. Topics included the structure and mandate of the Assembly; the work of its committees and special representatives; its voting procedures and rules; its election observation activities; and its ongoing Helsinki +40 Project, which is generating ideas for reform of the OSCE.

Participants also discussed issues that have been the focus of recent Assembly debates and resolutions.

Special Representative Mariani, who also held a series of bilateral meetings ahead of the seminar, said: "We all welcome a more active role for this country and its parliamentarians within the OSCE, which will mean greater support for Turkmenistan as it pursues needed reforms, along with more opportunities for us to learn about the Turkmen perspective. I applaud this joint initiative by the Centre in Ashgabat and the PA and hope for more co-operative ventures like this one throughout Central Asia."

Committee Chairperson Aknazarova, who is one of 10 women MPs within the PA's 21-member Bureau, also briefed the parliamentarians on gender balance within the Assembly and its gender-related work.

Aknazarova is currently the only MP from Central Asia within the PA's elected leadership.

"I have long advocated a more active role for lawmakers from Central Asian countries within the OSCE PA and I have brought many useful ideas back to my home capital from my five years of engagement. I am very pleased to share my experiences and look forward to continuing collaboration with our Turkmen colleagues," she said.

Mariani and Aknazarova praised the work of OSCE Centre in Ashgabat for its commitment to furthering OSCE values in Turkmenistan and for its support for increased Turkmen engagement in the Assembly.

Turkmenistan's Delegation to the PA will join other delegations from the OSCE's 57 participating States at the Assembly's upcoming Annual Session in Helsinki on 5-9 July.

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