OSCE Chairperson-in-Office marked 20th anniversary of OSCE presence in Kyrgyzstan during country visit

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office marked 20th anniversary of OSCE presence in Kyrgyzstan during country visit

Marking the 20th anniversary of OSCE presence in Kyrgyzstan during his visit to Bishkek yesterday, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Slovakia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák emphasized the strong Kyrgyz-OSCE partnership and close collaboration on promoting good governance, strengthening democratic institutions and reforming the electoral system, reports Trend referring to

Discussing past and future OSCE initiatives, in his meetings with the political leadership in Bishkek, including President Sooronbai Zheenbekov, Foreign Minister Chyngyz Aidarbekov, and Speaker of the Parliament Dastanbek Djumabekov, Minister Lajčák stressed that “the OSCE and the Slovak Chairmanship stand ready to support Kyrgyzstan in consolidating stability, and furthering development and reform efforts.”

Being in Kyrgyzstan a day after visiting Kazakhstan, the Chairperson emphasized that Central Asia is adding to the rich spectrum of perspectives embodied by the 57 OSCE participating States: “You are at the crossroads of ancient civilizations; of different religions, languages and worlds,” he said.

“The OSCE´s direct contribution to the stability of Kyrgyzstan, and the wider region, is vivid and vast. I strongly welcome the work of the OSCE - in establishing the building blocks for peace and stability from the ground up. It is clear that the organization is not here to teach or impose anything. Instead, it is here to listen and learn, to create new platforms for dialogue and exchange, to build capacities,” Minister Lajčák said opening the event on “20 years OSCE presence in Kyrgyzstan, achievements and future prospects”.

The breadth of the Programme Office’s work over the past 20 years is illustrated by activities ranging from working with national actors to counter terrorism and corruption, facilitate cross-border trade, and raise environmental awareness, to promoting participation of women in political life and supporting efforts to improve the access of persons with disabilities to the electoral process.

Highlighting the OSCE Academy, a flagship project on engaging young people in security and stability, Minister Lajčák said: “It is a crucial platform - linking not only universities from across the entire OSCE area, but also young people from this region, including Afghanistan and Mongolia.”

“This is positive in the short-term. It builds new bridges; pools information; fosters understanding. But the real benefits will also be seen in years to come – when the Academy’s alumni continue to interact and indeed lead from within their communities, workplaces and governments,” he added. “It embodies the spirit of Kyrgyzstan-OSCE co-operation.”

Addressing the students, Minister Lajčák said: “The world is finally waking up to the potential of youth; to the fact that young men and women are the change-makers, the peacebuilders, the innovators of both today and tomorrow. I know this is particularly true in Central Asia. But there is still more room for engagement and inclusion.”

Before leaving Kyrgyzstan, the Chairperson-in-Office used the opportunity to listen to the views of civil society representatives, who help to ensure that the work of the OSCE is in line with the realities on the ground. He told the group of people active in different areas that civil society is now part of our multilateral ecosystem. “We know that security is not something that is installed from the top down. Rather, it must be built - block by block - on foundations such as tolerance, pluralism, human rights and democracy. And you here today are the people helping to lay down these building blocks.”

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