9 Apr 2019 15:27

Central Asia has strategic significance for European security - OSCE chairperson-in-office

BISHKEK. April 9 (Interfax) - Central Asia has strategic significance for European security, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak said in Bishkek on Tuesday.

Lajcak said it was his first visit to the region and he intended to study the OSCE's activity in Central Asia.

"My visit to Kyrgyzstan coincides with the 20th anniversary of the OSCE Mission in Bishkek. I am glad that Kyrgyzstan and the OSCE have cooperated successfully over the years and achieved tangible results in the strengthening of democratic institutions, the electoral process, the suppression of corruption, the observation of women's rights, and the fight against extremism and terrorism," Lajcak said after meeting with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Chingiz Aidarbekov.

He also declared the priority of constructive cooperation and dialogue during Slovakia's chairmanship in the OSCE.

"OSCE member states are operating under rather complex international conditions, and we would like to focus our chairmanship on things that unite countries instead of dividing them," Lajcak said.

He underlined the need for "promoting an atmosphere of constructive cooperation and dialogue" in the OSCE and said that the Slovak chairmanship aimed at preventing and mitigating conflicts and building a safe future. He also said he had visited conflict zones in OSCE member states (Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova), as well as Russia for that purpose.

In addition, Lajcak commented on cooperation between Slovakia and Kyrgyzstan.

"Kyrgyzstan is an important partner of Slovakia. The minister and I have had a detailed discussion of the entire range of bilateral relations and have agreed to take practical steps to boost our dialogue," Lajcak said.

Aidarbekov told the press, in turn, that the talks with Lajcak addressed all aspects of bilateral relations and mapped out plans fostering bilateral relations in politics, trade, and economic affairs.

In his words, Kyrgyzstan and Slovakia will prepare for signing trade and economic agreements at a bilateral business forum in May.

As for cooperation with Kyrgyzstan in the OSCE, Aidarbekov said it was developing "in a constructive manner and on a mutually advantageous basis."

"Kyrgyzstan notes the huge contribution made by the OSCE to the development of the nation and our key areas. We are glad to continue this constructive dialogue," he said.