The OSCE Chairman's Personal Envoy for Central Asia, Martti Ahtisaari, stressed the importance of the parliamentary and presidential elections for Kyrgyzstan and the whole of Central Asia.
During his visit to Kyrgyzstan, which ended 11 June, the Personal Envoy met with Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev, as well as the Chairman of the Central Election Commission, Sulaiman Imanbaev, and representatives of the local media.
Mr. Ahtisaari said the OSCE Chairmanship and the international community will closely watch the presidential, parliamentary and local elections. "The way these elections are conducted will have a crucial impact on the international image of Kyrgyzstan," he said. "For this reason it is very important that all participants in this process have a fair and equal chance to participate and monitor."
Meeting with the representatives of leading political parties, the Personal Envoy made it clear that “it is not the task of the OSCE to change the government in a country, but to work with the government, political parties and civil society to create conditions and improve possibilities for every political party to have a fair chance in the elections”.
He underlined the OSCE's commitment to support the democratization process in Kyrgyzstan, including the promotion of freedom of the media and freedom of assembly.
After holding meetings with Kyrgyzstan's Ombudsman, Tursunbai Bakir uulu and representatives of international organizations active in Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Ahtisaari accepted a personal invitation of President Askar Akaev to participate in a UNESCO Conference, which was held on Lake Issyk-Kul on 10-11 June.
In his statement at the opening session of the conference, Mr.Ahtisaari emphasized the need for dialogue and the importance of good neighborly relations and the freedom of people to meet and move across borders. Good governance was the basis for economic development and democracy, he added.
KNNA Kabar, June 14, 2003