Deputy to the Secretary of CE Committee of Ministers Christophe Poirel: Ago group’s visit to Azerbaijan will focus on preparations for the presidential elections – EXCLUSIVE

Deputy to the Secretary of CE Committee of Ministers Christophe Poirel: Ago group’s visit to Azerbaijan will focus on preparations for the presidential elections <font color=red>– EXCLUSIVE </font>
# 14 February 2008 09:37 (UTC +04:00)
According to him, the members of the group will be in Armenia between March 31 and April 1 and will visit Azerbaijan on April 3-4. Christophe Poirel said the work on the visit schedule continues.
“We are awaiting answer from the officials of the two countries in connection with the visit schedule. We will stay in both countries for two days. We plan to meet with government officials, other political forces and heads of NGOs. The main wish of Ago group is to meet with Azerbaijani president. We also want to meet with Justice Minister, because Ago group always focused on the independence of judicial system. We also intend to have meeting with Foreign Minister,” he said.
According to Christophe Poirel, there are a lot of NGOs in Azerbaijan, and therefore they will not be able to meet the heads of all civil society institutions.
“We are preparing the list of NGOs that we plan to meet. The group will certainly focus on the preparation for the presidential elections. We also intend to discuss the state of negotiations between Azerbaijani government and Venice Commission on amendments to the Electoral Code. After the Electoral Code is amended, it will need practical implementation and the group will closely follow the process. Ago group hopes amendments and changes to the Electoral Code will be adopted before the presidential elections in order to apply perfect electoral system,” he said.
Christophe Poirel said the problem of political prisoners will also be in the center of attention during the visit.
“The group closely follows the activity of the working group dealing with this issue and we are interested whether there are improvements in the activity of the working group or not. Besides, we are going to study the state of media. For example, Ago group thinks that there should be improvements in terms of legislation in the field of media in Azerbaijan.
The Council of Europe supports the projects on the formation of journalism, but this should not be meant that the Article on defamation will not be paid attention. This issue should be carried out parallel. ”Ago” group, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Commission on Human Rights and other organizations consider that, Article on defamation should be removed from Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. Experts of European Council examined law regulating activity of radio and television. The law regulating activity of radio and television will be discussed during this visit. ”Ago” group is interested in whether Azerbaijan intends to change the law regulating activity of radio and television basing on recommendation of European Council’s experts or not,” he said. Christophe Poirel stated that he prepared a report on outcomes of the visit and this report will be given to Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe .The group can propose to Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to adopt some bills on the report. Mr.Poirel stated that the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict is on the agenda of “Ago “group.
“You know that, Russia and France which represent in OSCE MG are members of “Ago” group. Therefore, the group pays special attention to the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The talks continue on the settlement of the conflict and political dialogue and prospects of solution of the conflict will be main subjects of the discussions in the talks to be held in Yerevan and Baku. There were Presidential elections in the two countries. The population of the two countries should support the agreement achieved between the two countries. “Ago” group hopes that the conflict will be solved soon. We want to know that, which programs the two countries have got in this direction and how they want to carry out these programs. The two countries should compromise for the settlement of the conflict. We call on the two countries to refuse use of military means. Such statements do not give opportunity for peaceful solution to the conflict,” he said.
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