GT with Kurz and GremingerGeorge Tsereteli with Sebastian Kurz and Thomas Greminger, Vienna, 7 Dec. 2017VIENNA, 8 December 2017 – In a series of exchanges with foreign ministers, ambassadors, heads of OSCE institutions and other senior officials in Vienna this week, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President George Tsereteli (MP, Georgia) welcomed increased co-operation and dialogue on both the multilateral and bilateral levels. He noted the value of the OSCE and emphasized that it should be fully equipped to handle challenges facing the region.

On the margins of the OSCE’s 24th Ministerial Council taking place in the Austrian capital on 7-8 December, President Tsereteli has met with Austrian Speaker of Parliament Elisabeth Kostinger, OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, German Special Representative for the OSCE Gernot Erler, Spanish Deputy Foreign Minister Ildefonso Castro López, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Kyrgyzstani Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldayev, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yıldız, and Israeli Ambassador to the OSCE Talya Lador-Fresher.

With Speaker Kostinger, President Tsereteli expressed his appreciation for Austria’s hospitality and the support over the years of the Assembly’s work, including by hosting the PA’s Liaison Office in Vienna. Kostinger expressed full co-operation with the PA.

Meeting with OSCE Secretary General Greminger, Tsereteli said that in these critical times, it is necessary to strengthen the OSCE and make full use of its toolbox. Parliamentarians can assist, he said, by advocating for greater resources for the OSCE. In addition to the OSCE Secretary General, Tsereteli met with Director of the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir, and High Commissioner on National Minorities Lamberto Zannier.

In a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Alfano, Tsereteli expressed the Parliamentary Assembly’s support for the incoming Italian Chairmanship of the OSCE. The sides discussed concrete ways to promote efficient and effective co-operation in 2018.

Tsereteli also spoke at a Meeting of the OSCE Troika with the Asian Partners for Co-operation, noting that in recent years the PA’s co-operation with Asian Partners has intensified. He pointed out that representatives of Asian Partner countries regularly attend Assembly meetings, welcoming this engagement. “The OSCE PA’s doors are always open to the Asian Partners and we can only benefit from this co-operation,” Tsereteli said.

Meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on Thursday, Tsereteli raised issues including migration, terrorism, protracted conflicts and the upcoming elections in the Russian Federation. Tsereteli noted that the Russian Federation is important to the OSCE and the OSCE PA values the participation of its delegation. He pointed out that the PA is committed to open dialogue and despite disagreements on certain issues, discussions must continue in order to realize the ultimate goal of upholding the Helsinki principles and the common values of the OSCE.

In the meeting with Spanish Deputy Foreign Minister Castro López, the sides discussed ongoing political issues in Spain, including the upcoming regional elections in Catalonia.

While in Vienna, President Tsereteli also had conversations with the foreign ministers of Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Canada, Iceland, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. A conversation with United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson focused on the value of U.S. support for the OSCE.

Other topics of discussion included the situation in Ukraine and prospects for resolving the conflict in Donbas. On Thursday, Tsereteli delivered opening remarks to the Ministerial Council, stressing that the OSCE is a unique platform that deserves to be provided with all the necessary financial, human and material resources to promote comprehensive security in the OSCE area.

For photos of the OSCE PA’s participation in the 24th Ministerial Council, please click here.