International Community Must Remain Engaged in South Caucasus

01 April 2004

International Community Must Remain Engaged in South Caucasus
April 1, Vienna: Stephan Minikes to the OSCE Permanent Council

The international community must remain engaged in helping find solutions to
the “daunting” challenges facing the Southern Caucasus, such as the
conflicts in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh, said U.S.
Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE) Stephan Minikes April 1.

“The stability of this region is vital for all of us,” he said.

In response to an address by European Union Special Representative to the
South Caucasus Heikki Talvitie, Minikes welcomed the EU’s “deeper
engagement” in the region and thanked Ambassador Talvitie’s for his “ongoing
coordination with the OSCE” in the region.

Following are Minikes’ remarks:

(begin text)

United States Mission to the OSCE


As delivered by Ambassador Stephan M. Minikes
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
April 1, 2004

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

We would like to welcome Ambassador Talvitie to the Permanent Council and to
thank him for taking the time here to meet with us.

The challenges facing the countries of the southern Caucasus are indeed as
you described quite daunting. In Georgia, a new government is taking the
reins and trying to find solutions to the myriad of political, social and
economic problems. And, as Ambassador Talvitie has noted, the region is
plagued by conflicts in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The stability of this region is vital for all of us. The international
community therefore has to remain engaged in helping negotiate resolutions
to these conflicts, to strengthen the representative democracy and in
promoting higher living standards.

The United States welcomes the EU’s deeper engagement in the region through
the appointment of the Ambassador and it was good to hear that the positions
you mentioned – of the United States, the EU and the Russian Federation –
were in line, and it is important that we try to keep it that way. I would
add here that we are pleased to have the opportunity to coordinate
frequently with the Special Representative both here and in the field.

As one of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group, we appreciate Ambassador
Talvitie’s support for the Minsk Group’s efforts and his contributions
toward confidence building in all three countries where he represents the EU
and we commend his ongoing coordination with the OSCE on the wide range of
challenges that face all of us in the region today.

We therefore wish you well Ambassador Talvitie and we congratulate you on
your work and look forward to continuing our close cooperation with him.

Thank you.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: )