667th Meeting of the Permanent Council
The European Union welcomes Ambassador Jenca back to the Permanent Council, and thanks him for his comprehensive report.
As stated in the PC of last week, the EU remains seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Uzbekistan. However, we once again stress our readiness to pursue a comprehensive and regular dialogue with Uzbekistan on human rights. We appreciate the readiness of the Uzbek side to engage in this dialogue, initiated on 8/9 May in Tashkent, and look forward to its continuation in an open and constructive manner, with a view to achieving concrete and sustained results.
We welcome the fact that Ambassador Jenca can report that overall conditions for project activities have been quite favourable and that implementation of the supported projects has run smoothly. We also welcome the increase in the staff of the Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan.
We commend the priority given by the Project Coordinator to assisting the Government of Uzbekistan in its efforts to ensure security and stability, including by fighting against terrorism, violent extremism, illegal drug trafficking and other transnational threats and challenges. We hope that this cooperation will continue and that the planned conference on these important matters can take place soon. We also support the contribution of the Project Coordinator to the advancement of democratic transformation in Uzbekistan through increasing awareness of the mechanisms and benefits of participatory democracy and the role that political parties can play in the process. Democratic dialogue with civil society can contribute to preventing the expression of discontent through violent or extremist means. We encourage the Government of Uzbekistan to co-ordinate with the OSCE Centre on projects supporting the practical implementation of Uzbekistan’s international human rights obligations in areas of concern to the EU.
The EU supported the high-level Regional Conference on “The Challenge of Educational Reform in Multi-ethnic Central Asia”, which took place in Tashkent upon the initiative of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, and welcomes the Project Coordinator’s follow-up activities, including facilitating Uzbek participation in a Working Group meeting in Kazakhstan in February.
The EU notes Ambassador Jenca´s assessment that as a result of the renegotiated mandate of the Project Coordinator some ongoing activities were discontinued during 2006. We regret in particular that the Project Coordinator’s proposals for project activities have not always resulted in satisfactory responses by the Uzbek Authorities. So far only seven projects have been approved out of those submitted this year. The European Union would appreciate further information on the described overall impact of the renegotiated mandate on personnel and institutional resources of the Centre.
The EU supports the Project Coordinator’s intention to continue work in accordance with OSCE objectives and commitments, pursuing a balanced approach across all three dimensions. The support of the Host Government, including through a productive and timely consultation mechanism for new projects, will be a crucial factor in ensuring the effectiveness of the OSCE’s presence in Uzbekistan.
In this context, the EU would like to stress that it shares the view of the OSCE CiO H.E. Minister Moratinos, who visited Uzbekistan last April, when he underscored that both Uzbekistan and the OSCE would benefit from increased co-operation with each other. The EU welcomes the OSCE’s readiness to further support Uzbekistan through work in all three dimensions.
In conclusion, we would like to thank Ambassador Jenca and his team for their dedicated and successful work, and we wish them every success in their future activities.
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, Montenegro, and Serbia, EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldovaalign themselves with this statement.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.