BAKU, 2 July 2009 - The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, urged Azerbaijan today to build on the progress that has been achieved in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process and in deepening democratic reforms.
"A more secure, more stable and stronger Europe is in all our interests. Azerbaijan plays an important role in helping to promote our common security in the South Caucasus and the whole OSCE area," she said, following a meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
"Addressing the region's protracted conflicts is one of the top priorities of the Greek OSCE Chairmanship. I am encouraged by the latest developments in the negotiation process, which is facilitated by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and the intensified dialogue between the Presidents and Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."
"We must continue to build on this positive momentum."
During her visit Bakoyannis met Foreign Minister Mammadyarov, Bayram Safarov, the Representative of the Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh, and representatives of Azerbaijani political parties. She will meet President Ilham Aliyev and Oktay Asadov, the Speaker of Parliament, later today.
Bakoyannis noted the co-operation between Azerbaijan and the OSCE, including with its Office in Baku, the Representative on Freedom of the Media and its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
"A robust civil society, a free press and open political participation represent key commitments we share as OSCE states," she said. "In this regard I welcome the positive decision by Azerbaijan's Parliament at the end of June to help ensure that amendments to the law on NGOs do not restrict, but facilitate, the activities of civil society. I am confident that we can deepen the constructive co-operation between the OSCE and Azerbaijan to further reforms."
The OSCE Chairperson will travel to Yerevan this evening for talks with Armenian authorities and political parties on Friday.