Home Tags Posts tagged with "osce"


Azerbaijan’s ruling party, New Azerbaijan, has won the country’s parliamentary elections that were boycotted by the main opposition parties, the electoral commission said.

The New Azerbaijan party had won at least 70 seats in the 125-seat parliament, the commission said.

A host of small parties and candidates loyal to President Ilham Aliyev took almost all the rest.

The opposition has accused the government of jailing its opponents.

International monitors from the OSCE did not observe the vote, citing government restrictions.

Photo AP

Photo AP

More than a dozen political parties were vying for 125 seats in Azerbaijan’s National Assembly.

However, analysts say those that could be considered genuine in their opposition to the government refused to participate.

“The pre-election period was marred by massive violations. That’s why we decided not to participate,” opposition Musavat Party leader Arif Gajily told Reuters news agency.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the leading international monitoring group, has not considered any of Azerbaijan’s elections since independence to be free and fair.

In 2015 – for the first time in more than two decades – the OSCE chose not to send a mission, condemning the Azerbaijani government’s “crackdown on independent and critical voices”.


One hundred international monitors will be sent to Ukraine, after Russian diplomats dropped their objections.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), will send advance teams within 24 hours to areas including the violence-hit south-eastern areas.

But the monitoring team is not expected to go to Crimea, which was taken over by Russia last month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law formalizing Crimea’s annexation on Friday, despite EU and US sanctions.

The 57-member OSCE reached a deal on Friday evening.

The Vienna-based group said that initially 100 civilian observers would deploy for six months in nine regions of Ukraine.

Up to 400 extra personnel could be deployed if necessary.

The areas the monitors are due to visit include Odessa, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, and Luhansk, which have been recently rocked by clashes between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian activists.

The situation remains tense on the long Ukrainian-Russian border

The situation remains tense on the long Ukrainian-Russian border

“The decision itself calls for monitors to be deployed within 24 hours,” said Daniel Baer, the US ambassador to the OSCE.

The US said in a statement that “it is clear that with the adoption of this decision this mission has a mandate to work in Crimea and in all other parts of Ukraine”.

But Russian envoy Andrey Kelin responded by saying that Crimea had now become part of Russia and therefore the mission had “no mandate” to go there.

Western diplomats had blamed Russia for several failed attempts to agree such a mission in recent days.

Earlier this month OSCE monitors had to abandon their visit to Crimea after warning shots were fired at the border.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Friday’s deal was “not the end of the crisis”.

Earlier on Friday, the EU added 12 people to an existing list of 21 officials involved in Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

They include Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin and two close aides of Vladimir Putin, Sergey Glazyev and Vladislav Surkov.

The speakers of Russia’s two houses of parliament, Valentina Matviyenko and Sergei Naryshkin – both at Vladimir Putin’s side as he signed the Crimea law – were also included.

While the list targets several figures close to Vladimir Putin, it does not hit his inner circle as hard as the sanctions announced by the US on Thursday.

In retaliation, Russia ordered travel bans and asset freezes for nine prominent US officials and lawmakers.

Senator John McCain, one of those targeted, joked in a tweet that he would have to cancel his spring break in Siberia.

Vladimir Putin said Moscow would not retaliate for the latest EU sanctions – although the Russian foreign ministry said there would be a response.

In Crimea itself, forces allied to Russia have been seizing Ukrainian ships and taking over military bases.

The new authorities in Crimea have invited those serving in the Ukrainian forces on the peninsula to switch sides and join Russian forces.

[youtube 3sLzBZ-Fchk 650]

Warning shots have been fired in Armyansk city, northern Crimea, as a team of OSCE observers was turned back from entering the region.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said that no-one was hurt in the incident at Armyansk.

It was the third time the OSCE has been prevented from entering Crimea, now in the control of pro-Russian forces.

In another development, Russia’s deputy foreign minister has held talks with Ukraine’s ambassador in Moscow.

Warning shots have been fired in Armyansk as a team of OSCE observers was turned back from entering Crimea

Warning shots have been fired in Armyansk as a team of OSCE observers was turned back from entering Crimea

The foreign ministry gave no details but said the talks on Saturday between deputy minister Grigory Karasin and ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko were held in an “open atmosphere”.

Also on Saturday, President Barack Obama and his French counterpart Francois Hollande warned of “new measures” against Moscow if it failed to make progress on defusing the crisis in Ukraine.

The French presidency said that, in a phone call, the two leaders insisted on the “need for Russia to withdraw forces sent to Crimea” and “to do everything to allow the deployment of international observers”.

It was not clear what “new measures” could entail.

Witnesses travelling with the OSCE said several shots were fired in the air as a convoy of vehicles approached a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian forces on a road leading from mainland Ukraine into the Crimea peninsula.

An OSCE spokeswoman said that the mission was withdrawing to the nearest big city, Kherson, to decide on its next steps.

The Vienna-based OSCE was invited by Ukraine’s interim government, but Russian separatist authorities in Crimea say it does not have permission to enter the region.