(((((OSCEOSCE) - The Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Ambassador Christian Strohal , said today he was concerned about visa problems that some official election observers face when entering Armenia ahead of the 12 May parliamentary elections.
"An invitation to observe elections is an invitation to all OSCE participating States, and is issued in order to ensure equal treatment and strengthen the diversity of observation," said Ambassador Strohal .
"Preventing some observers from participating contradicts the principles of transparency and objectivity which are an indispensable aspect of democratic elections."
Armenian authorities informed the ODIHR that they would not issue visas to eight observers, all of them of Turkish nationality, who were expected to arrive in the country today.
The ODIHR Director stressed that this refusal came unexpectedly and no official reason was given as to why the observers could not enter the country.
The Armenian Government, just like the governments of all other OSCE States, is bound by its acceptance of OSCE commitments on democratic elections, which include an invitation to all OSCE States to observe elections.
The Armenian authorities invited the OSCE to observe the May parliamentary elections in February this year.