In Greece, Special Representative Guliyev highlights regional co-operation on common challenges

ATHENS, 24 November 2021 – The OSCE PA’s Special Representative on South East Europe, Vice-President Azay Guliyev, has been in Greece this week for a series of meetings with parliamentarians, governmental officials and representatives of political parties on regional developments and perspectives.

emb img GR pr1Special Representative on South East Europe, Vice President Azay Guliyev and Minister of Interior of Greece Makis Voridis, Athens, 23 November, 2021Special Representative Guliyev has met with Charalampos Athanasiou, Second Deputy Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament; Ambassador Themistoklis Demiris, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Minister of Interior Makis Voridis; Anastasios Chatzivasileiou, Secretary General of the Standing Committee on National Defense and Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament and Representative of the Prime Minister’s Diplomatic Office; Dimitrios Konstantinos Kairidis, First Vice-Chairperson of the Special Committee on European Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament; Notis Mitarachi, Minister of Migration and Asylum; representatives of the opposition, including George Katrougalos, Representative of the President of the Syriza party Alexis Tsipras and former Minister of Foreign Affairs; and members of the Greek Delegation to the OSCE PA, headed by Theodoros Karaoglou.

In meetings, Guliyev touched upon the latest developments in the Western Balkans, including prospects for European integration, upcoming elections, and regional co-operation. Discussions highlighted future regional prospects also in light of the successful resolution of the name dispute between Athens and Skopje. EU accession was largely viewed as the most effective tool for sustainable regional stability. Outstanding challenges, including the escalation of tension in Bosnia and Herzegovina, were discussed. Guliyev also placed emphasis on the positive contribution of the Western Balkans to the OSCE, exemplified among other concrete examples, by the Albanian OSCE Chairpersonship in 2020 and by the fact that North Macedonia is preparing to chair the OSCE in 2023.  

emb img GR pr12Special Representative on South East Europe, Vice President Azay Guliyev and Minister of Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarachi, Athens, 24 November 2021Guliyev also stressed the invaluable contributions of the Hellenic Republic to the work of the OSCE PA, including the work of the Greek Delegation in the Migration Committee and in the context of election observation activities.

“I am privileged to undertake my first official visit to Athens to listen to its viewpoint and experience on matters concerning South East Europe,” Guliyev said. “In fulfilling my mandate, I very much count on Greece’s longstanding and positive co-operation in the context of the OSCE.” 

Special Representative Guliyev noted that the Ad Hoc Committee on Migration has been closely following migration patterns in the region since its establishment in 2016 also through a fact finding visit to Athens and Lesbos in 2017. Discussions also touched upon the challenges faced by Greece as a frontline country on the eastern Mediterranean route, the need for greater solidarity towards transit countries coping with extensive migration flows as well as  the challenges associated with an equitable distribution of asylum seekers, repatriation and the threat related to foreign terrorist fighters in the region.  The PA and its Ad Hoc Committee on Migration have commended Greece for its contribution in coping with migration flows and have consistently urged OSCE participating States to show more solidarity and to take on their share of asylum seekers, Guliyev noted. Special Representative Guliyev also announced the readiness of the Migration Committee to undertake a more comprehensive visit to the Hellenic Republic in early 2022, particularly to gain more insight on the current migration challenges as well as the reception and processing of asylum seekers on Lesbos and the other Aegean islands. This proposal was welcomed by the hosts.

Other topics discussed encompassed a set of innovative means aimed at further fostering regional co-operation, including through the exchange of know how and best practices in the fields of digitalization, particularly in the public sector, as well as the transition to a green economy; institution building, the strengthening of the rule of law in the region and the challenges which the pandemic impresses on freedom of the media. Guliyev was also briefed with regards to the next parliamentary elections in Greece and to the developments related to the electoral system.

The visit, Guliyev’s first to the region since becoming Special Representative last summer, took place on 22-24 November.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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