OSCE’s Office in Yerevan to be shut down
The Yerevan-based office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will be closed in the coming months – the OSCE Secretariat official told Armenian mass media.
The OSCE will no longer be represented in the South Caucasus, since Armenia is the only country in the region where the organization’s office has been functioning so far. The representative office will be closed due to the parties’ failure to reach an agreement on the extension of its mandate. As was pointed out in the organization’s press release, Azerbaijan stood against its further activity.
As it turns out, representatives of the OSCE German and Austrian chairmanships spared no efforts to maintain the only platform in the region, but Azerbaijan objected. As the Azerbaijani officials explained, the activity of the OSCE Yerevan Office, especially in the defense and political sphere, gave grounds to concerns. The Azerbaijani side was particularly concerned over Yerevan Office’s de-mining activity, which it regards as ‘a post-conflict rehabilitation measure.’
However, the Armenian Foreign Minister, Edward Nalbandyan, stated earlier that the matter concerned the organization of trainings on this issue, rather than implementing the de-mining program itself.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Tigran Balayan, commented on the closure of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, saying that, having closed of the OSCE representative office in Baku, Azerbaijan has targeted its office in Yerevan. “Through its extremely destructive stance Azerbaijan has totally isolated itself from the OSCE. The OSCE Chairmanship, its participating states and Secretariat, support the OSCE Office in Yerevan, and it’s only Azerbaijan that abuses the OSCE principle of consensus, single-handedly blocking the decision on the extension of the OSCE Yerevan Office activity, thus opposing the entire organization,” said Balayan.