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Kyrgyzstan Review, 10 years ago

[19.03.23] OSCE Netherlands Chair Reaffirms Support to Kyrgyzstan On A Democratic Trail

The Netherlands Chairmanship of the OSCE will support any effort to reinforce democratic institutions in Kyrgyzstan, said Ambassador Daan Everts, the Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office (CiO), after completing a visit to the country.
"Count on our support and call us in" was the core message Ambassador D. Everts gave to senior officials he met in Bishkek, including President Askar Akaev, Foreign Minister Askar Aitmatov, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Abdygany Erkebaev, Deputy Prime Minister Joomart Otorbaev, and several members of Parliament, including opposition leader Adahan Madumarov.
D. Everts emphasized the Dutch Chairmanship's goal of devoting more attention to the Central Asian region and stepping up OSCE activities in the area. This was illustrated by the recent appointment of former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari as the CiO's Personal Envoy for Central Asia. "He can offer friendly support and counsel from his rich experience," D. Everts added.
Foreign Minister Askar Aitmatov reiterated Kyrgyzstan's strong commitment to strengthening co-operation with the OSCE. One possible way of doing this would be to undertake joint efforts in the sphere of legislation and to enhance public dialogue between the authorities and society through the newly founded "Public Council of Democratic Security". Ambassador D. Everts, who also discussed this suggestion with the representatives of civil society, called the idea a potentially interesting addition to the democratic architecture. However, it needed broad involvement across the political spectrum and the trust of the population for it to become a "watchdog for democratic behavior". This could only be achieved if complaints about limited representation were addressed, he said.
He noted Kyrgyzstan's reputation as a vibrant example of political participation in the region, while expressing the Chairmanship's interest in contributing to the completion of the legal reform process following the referendum on a new edition of the constitution. He proposed more systematic monitoring of judicial proceedings, possibly involving the institution of the Ombudsman.
Stressing the Chairmanship's concern about the situation of the media, he emphasized the vital necessity of a pluralistic media climate for a viable democracy and indicated the OSCE's willingness to help improve the situation.
Regarding the anniversary of the Aksy incidents of 17 March 2002, he expressed hope that the right lessons had been learned from this tragic event. "There is an urgent need to resume open and honest internal dialogue, if Kyrgyzstan wants to blaze the trail of democracy again," he said.
Finally, OSCE Representative spoke of the pointed out strong interest of the European Union in Central Asia and announced that OSCE will support the institution of Ombudsman, democracy-related training of police and educational activities in Kyrgyzstan. "We will back up any effort to reinforce democratic institutions," Ambassador D. Everts added.
Before leaving for Uzbekistan, Ambassador D. Everts also visited the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and the "southern capital" of Osh to confer with Governor Naken Kasiev about the problems and prospects of the Fergana valley region.

KNNA Kabar, March 19, 2003

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