Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton on the normalisation of relations between Turkey and Armenia

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission made the following statement:

"The European Union encourages Armenia and Turkey to remain committed to the process of normalisation and calls on both countries to ratify and implement the bilateral protocols without preconditions and in a reasonable timeframe. In this context, the EU welcomes the decision of the Armenian President to submit both protocols to the parliament as well as the recent declaration by the President of Turkey to remain committed to the normalisation of relations with Armenia.

The European Union believes that the full normalisation of bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey would be an important contribution to security, stability and cooperation in the Southern Caucasus. The EU will continue to provide its political and technical support to this process and stands ready to help implementing the steps agreed between the two countries."

Press Release: Council of the EU. Published on 6 April 2010

OSCE, Council of Europe and European Union present assistance plans to Azerbaijan parliamentary elections

Representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe and the European Union today jointly presented their plans for assisting the Republic of Azerbaijan to prepare for the parliamentary elections to be held in November.

"The electoral process is a key priority for the work of our organizations in Azerbaijan, as well as for the country itself as a member of the international community," said the organizations' representatives, Bilge Cankorel (OSCE), Veronika Kotek (CoE) and Roland Kobia (European Union), in a joint statement.

"We encourage the country to continue addressing the shortcomings identified by international observers in previous elections. For this, an effort is needed by all the actors concerned and we stand ready to support this effort.".

The assistance of these three organizations will concentrate on: strengthening the capacities and independence of the electoral administration and other relevant actors; supporting a media environment that would ensure independent, unbiased and pluralistic coverage of the electoral campaigns of all candidates; encouraging the appropriate exercise of freedom of assembly; and stimulating public interest and participation in the electoral process, including by women.

The three organizations will work with public authorities as well as civil society and will develop their plans in a concerted and coherent manner to ensure that their assistance best contributes to the efforts of Azerbaijan to hold free and fair parliamentary elections.

Press Release: OSCE. Published in Baku on 7 April 2010

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