I join others in welcoming Ambassador von Arx back to the Permanent Council and thank him for the comprehensive report on the activities carried out in the reporting period.
We are pleased to see a continued co-operation between the Project Co-ordinator and the Uzbek authorities and the continued, growing interest from the Uzbek authorities to develop this cooperation across all three OSCE dimensions.
This cooperation is a good example of how the OSCE field missions contribute to capacity building in line with mandates, common commitments, and the host country priorities.
We appreciate the Project Co-ordinator’s emphasis on gender equality in his report and recognize the positive joint efforts with Uzbek authorities on media, human rights, gender equality, Women´s empowerment and the Women Peace and Security agenda. These are important OSCE commitment areas that are key in the development of good security sector governance, rule of law and should be mainstreamed in the Uzbek priority for judicial reform.
We are pleased to note that the Project Co-ordinator continues to facilitate NGO participation in events, thus enabling contributions from voices outside the government to the country’s development. Maintaining an active civil society is a prerequisite for a functioning, prosperous democracy.
During the reporting period Norway has contributed financially to three different projects under the Project Co-ordinator. We hope it will be possible to continue such co-operation within the Co-ordinator’s mandate and in line with Uzbek and Norwegian priorities.