PACE President: “OSCE CO-chairs’ efforts need to be increased” -EXCLUSIVE

PACE President: “OSCE CO-chairs’ efforts need to be increased” -<font color=red>EXCLUSIVE</font>
# 26 January 2010 20:46 (UTC +04:00)
- What will be the priorities for the next two years of your chairmanship as a President of PACE? What concrete plans will you have concerning the South Caucasus region?

- Obviously, the Council of Europe (CE) has several projects concerning the South Caucasus, it is interested in. Furthermore, it’s going to draft some reports on each of three South Caucasus countries, as well as Russia. As you know, the region tackles with serious problems. Azerbaijan and Armenia is currently having the problem of serious war. According to the decisions made by the Council of Europe (CE), Azerbaijani territories were occupied and the Karabakh conflict remains unresolved. Karabakh was always marked as a national territory of Azerbaijan Republic in the CE decisions. It remains one of the biter issues in the regions. This conflict seems to be a hindrance to the normalization process of relations between Turkey and Armenia. As CE sees it, this is what the reality is today. That is to say, I’m not telling this because I’m Turk, but because, it’s today’s reality.

At the same time, the South Caucasus faces the problem between Russia and Georgia. The Council of Europe (CE) gives great importance to this issue. But unlike Karabakh conflict, this issue emerged as fresh and burning one. It’s very hard to say how successful we will be in the political solution of this issue. However, humanitarian supports have been launched to prevent and restore the human loss as a result of this war. In my opinion, we should further continue this support.

Noticeably, occupation of Azerbaijani territories and conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia caused great human losses, leaving a lot of refugees and displaced persons, with whom we have humanitarian problems as well. Many reports have been published and decisions of recommendative character made concerning this issue. All the CE member states should fulfill their obligations. We will continue of showing our constructive position towards each CE member state on all the issues. We’ll keep most frequent eye on human and humanitarian issues.

We also wish the development of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chair activity concerning the Karabakh conflict. There has been a serious intensification in the works towards this issue lately. The co-chairs need to be more active in this issue. We will do support them in our part.

Briefly speaking, we want all the problems, frozen conflicts in the Caucasus region to be resolved soon.

- Will the Sub-committee on Nagorno Karabakh conflict resume its function? What can you say about the new appointment to the subcommittee chairmanship?

- This issue was on the agenda before I was elected as a President PACE. Moreover, the issue was also addressed during the last meeting of December. But, I’d like to note that OSCE is engaged in Nagorno Karabakh conflict much more than Council of Europe (CE). There is a necessity to push this sub-committee to function for supporting the conflict to be resolved. No need to find any purposes in the temporarily pausing of sub-committee functions. However, special attention will be further paid to the sub-committee’s activity.

- Will there be any expectations of monitoring of cultural monuments in South Caucasus? When is Mr. O’hara’s visit to Azerbaijan expected?

- Such decision will be made by O’hara and his sub-committee. The key decision is up to sub-committee. Since Azerbaijan is the fully pledged member of CE, there will be no need to special permission from its bureau. The decision of sub-committee on this visit is enough to realize it.

- What’s your opinion about the fundamental principles of CE - situation of democracy, human rights, freedom of speech in Azerbaijan?

- We frequently show our willing to fulfill necessary reforms in the abovementioned fundamental principles not only in Azerbaijan, as well as in Turkey and in other CE member states. We wish all the CE member states to adopt, follow and practice all the principles and standards of the CE.

The application of these standards stands for the citizens of those member countries in the first place. As we see the necessary development in Azerbaijan concerning this issue, we wish it could further increase. We would like Azerbaijan to step up and arrive the EC standards and criteria as soon as earlier. Turkey had also several problems and there are issues waiting for its solution. Now, Turkey primarily needs a new Constitution. Because, the current Constitution is an obstacle to maybe reforms in the country. That is to say, such kind of issues exists in many countries and we wish all the countries to settle in democratic standards.

- Will the reps of the Azerbaijan and Armenia to PACE meet in the nearest future?

- Obviously, I would like to meet with Azerbaijani and Armenian representatives to PACE, also pay a visit to both countries. As we are choosing the dialogue, we think the restoration of constructive dialogue between the two countries is necessary. We will further continue working in this direction. Since I will have a tough week, full of different meetings concerning the session, I cannot exactly tell you whether I’ll have a chance to meet them. But I wish I could. If I will fail to meet head of delegation of the two countries in this week, then I will meet them in the next. It’s worth to note that we saw such meetings in the past too. We will furthermore have joint meetings, as well as separately in the future.

- When will you pay a visit to Azerbaijan?

- If there will be any invitation from Azerbaijan I’m ready to visit this country. The program of the visit is not ready yet. However, I would like to visit Azerbaijan as a President of PACE.

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