WASHINGTON, 2 July 2005 - OSCE Chairman-in-Office Dimitrij Rupel has called for a comprehensive strategy to strengthen democracy and stability in the countries of Central Asia. It would build on the Organization's active assistance programme to Kyrgyzstan, ahead of the presidential election on July 10.
"I believe that we should be ambitious and follow up our considerable engagement in Kyrgyzstan with a more comprehensive strategy for assisting all the states of Central Asia on their path to full democracy," he told the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Washington on Friday.
"Bearing in mind too, its partnerships with Afghanistan and Mongolia, the OSCE is well-placed to lead this. It could increase its added value in the region, including through the promotion of regional economic co-operation. OSCE Institutions and units of the Secretariat, together with field operations on the spot, all have a role to play and this should be co-ordinated in a more holistic way."
The 55-nation security organization has five participating States in the region - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The Chairman-in-Office renewed his call to the Uzbek authorities to allow an independent international investigation into the events in Andijan on May 13, in which security forces are reported to have killed possibly hundreds of unarmed civilians.
"More generally, I urge the Uzbek authorities to remain open to international co-operation and to live up to their international commitments. Security in Central Asia - particularly the Fergana Valley region - is of concern to the whole OSCE community and requires co-operative solutions," Minister Rupel added.
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