Wien, 2. August 2005 Press release

Vienna the venue for several conferences relating to the Southern Caucasus

02.08.2005

Ministry for Foreign Affairs supports events aimed at building confidence and intensifying regional cooperation

Vienna, 2 August 2005 - Several events relating to the Southern Caucasus were held in Vienna last weekend with financial and logistical support from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

With the assistance of the London-based "Media Diversity Institute", 50 journalists from the Southern Caucasian states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and the territorial enclaves of Abkhazia, Nagorny Karabakh and South Ossetia convened for a three-day conference on possibilities for increased media cooperation despite the background of strained political relations.

On the same weekend Vienna was also the venue for a further meeting of the Georgian-Abkhazian Dialogue, a series of seminars at NGO level co-initiated in 1997 by the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Stadtschlaining. The so-called Schlaining Process aims to contribute towards finding a solution to the Abkhazia conflict, which has remained unresolved since 1991. The meeting was attended by the Georgian State Minister for Conflict Settlement, Giorgi Khaindrava, and on the Abkhazian side by the de facto Vice Premier Leonid Lakerbaia and Secretary of the Abkhaz Security Council Stanislav Lakoba, among others.

The two conferences aimed at building confidence and intensifying regional cooperation were complemented by an event in the cultural and scientific sphere, with a special seminar on Austrian geography and culture held in Vienna last week for Germanists from the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia.

With these events, Vienna - as the seat of the OSCE as well as the only European capital with direct flight connections to all three states of the Southern Caucasus - once again demonstrated its eminent suitability as a venue for conferences on Southern Caucasian affairs.