OSCE Permanent Council No. 606
EU Response to the Head of the OSCE Centre in Bishkek, Amb. Markus Mueller
- The European Union is very pleased to welcome Ambassador Mueller again in the Permanent Council. We would like to thank him for the oral report delivered today as well as for the detailed written report submitted to the Council.
- At the outset, we would like to express our contentment that the opposition rally held in Bishkek on 29 April was held peacefully and without disturbances. We are pleased that the demonstrators in Bishkek, in stark contrast to the political reality in other states in the region, could exercise their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression without restriction and were able to articulate their demands freely. We hope that this will also be the case in the political rallies announced throughout the country during the month of May. We encourage the state authorities of Kyrgyzstan and the opposition to carry on their dialogue on necessary political and economic reforms.
- The European Union would like to express its satisfaction with the range of projects carried out by the OSCE Centre in Bishkek and the Field Office in Osh in all three dimensions, in cooperation with a variety of local and international partners. The Centre’s activities to support political institutions development and constitutional reform, media development, economic development, anti-corruption, anti-trafficking and poverty reduction measures in Kyrgyzstan are good examples for the fruitful and successful cooperation that exists between the Centre and its governmental and non-governmental partners on the Kyrgyz side. The same applies to the extensive Police Assistance Programme about which we were briefed earlier today, which also takes into account human rights questions in law enforcement.
- The European Union strongly welcomes activities that involve, or specifically target, the Kyrgyz youth, in direct support of the next generation of Kyrgyzstan’s political and economic leaders, and we encourage the Centre to continue these efforts. Equally, activities of a trans-boundary character, such as in the environmental field with Kazakhstan, or on border management issues with Kyrgyzstan’s neighbours, merit special attention. This is equally the case with activities in rural areas and areas that have been the scene of local tensions or conflicts, such as the regions of Osh and Jalalabad. Furthermore, we are pleased to hear about the work done by the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, and are looking forward to the dialogue with the Academy’s representatives in Vienna later this week.
- The task of building democracy, the rule of law, economic prosperity and social justice in Kyrgyzstan cannot be accomplished overnight. Adopting the necessary constitutional and institutional reforms, laying the proper foundations for a stable and flourishing democracy and creating sustainable economic growth and prosperity, fostering political stability, rule of law and equal rights (especially minority rights), while at the same time fighting corruption and organized crime, requires determination, perseverance, and a long-term commitment.
- The European Union is fully aware of the magnitude of the challenge, and we are encouraged by the first steps undertaken by the Kyrgyz side in this regard. At the same time, we call upon the Kyrgyz authorities to continue in their efforts and to further pursue a policy of reforms towards the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law in Kyrgyzstan. In this regard constitutional reform is of particular importance. We welcome the presidential decree of 27 March 2006 to form a working group tasked with preparing constitutional drafts for different forms of government, following the decree of 5 January to hold a referendum concerning the future form of government in Kyrgyzstan. The European Union hopes for rapid progress in this context and stands ready to further support this process.
- Moreover, we once again would like to thank the Kyrgyz government for its courageous humanitarian efforts undertaken in favour of 450 refugees from Uzbekistan. However, the EU continues to be concerned about the fate of the remaining four individuals whose cases are currently examined by the Kyrgyz justice. We sincerely hope that Kyrgyzstan as well as all other States where Uzbek citizens are currently seeking refuge will act in full compliance with their international commitments, especially the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture.
- In conclusion, we are looking forward to seeing the Centre and its Kyrgyz partners continue their excellent cooperation in the promotion of OSCE principles and commitments, and we wish both sides the best of success for all ongoing and future activities.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, EFTA countries Iceland and Liechtenstein, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process