Kyrgyzstan + 3 more

OSCE Chairman discusses Central Asia and Kosovo with U.S. Secretary of State

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WASHINGTON, 1 July 2005 - The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, expressed concern about the situation in Uzbekistan and the plight of Uzbek refugees in Kyrgyzstan, during talks with the U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, Friday.

The future of Kosovo and the reform debate in the OSCE were also touched on in their discussions in the American capital.

The Chairman-in-Office emphasized that Uzbekistan had to make a genuine commitment to adhere to the democratic principles to which all OSCE states subscribe.

Furthermore, he expressed his great concern about developments in the country and the refusal of the Uzbek authorities to co-operate with international organizations in an independent investigation into the events in the city of Andijan, on 13 May.

The Slovenian Chairmanship and the United States shared a concern for the safety and well-being of refugees who had fled to neighbouring Kyrgyzstan after the Andijan events and agreed the Kyrgyz authorities had a duty to ensure none were repatriated against their will.

Noting that the July 10 presidential election in Kyrgyzstan could prove to be an important turning-point for the country, Minister Rupel thanked the United States for the strong support it was providing for OSCE police and election assistance activities in Bishkek and elsewhere.

On Kosovo, he expressed the OSCE's readiness to engage in the process of future status talks, in which the United Nations would have the lead role. With its expertise and unparalleled field presence in the region, the Organization could contribute its share.

The Chairman-in-Office added that events over the past six months, especially in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, had proved the OSCE's relevance in the international arena.

Contacts

Richard Murphy
OSCE Spokesperson/Head of Press and Public Information

Kaerntner Ring 5-7
1010 Vienna
Austria
Tel: +43 1 514 36 180
+43 664 548 53 89 (mobile)
Fax: +43 1 514 36 105
richard.murphy@osce.org
press@osce.org