Deputy Foreign Minister: “We demand special monitoring mechanism for Azerbaijan” - INTERVIEW

Deputy Foreign Minister: “We demand special monitoring mechanism for Azerbaijan” - <font color=red> INTERVIEW</font>
# 12 May 2010 08:03 (UTC +04:00)
- The 120th session of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers has taken place today and Macedonia has taken over the committee’s chairmanship. What proposals Azerbaijan has made at the session?

- There were several issues, first of all the Council of Europe reforms on agenda. The newly-elected Secretary General has already begun this process and explained his ideas and proposals. There were other subjects discussed there. Azerbaijan also participated at the discussions and we expressed our position on the issue of reforms. We consider that the Council of Europe is a leading organization in the fields of democracy, human rights and supremacy of law. But we have not to focus on our achievements only, the Council of Europe should also be reformed and it should strengthen its usefulness and confidentiality. In this regard, the organization should focus attention on the solution to the conflicts in the Council of Europe countries because these conflicts threaten not only the security issues, but also human rights and democracy. The conflicts are tackling the democratic development and other important reforms in the countries. I am planning to meet with the Council of Europe leadership. I have met with the head of Ago Group and permanent representative of Romania to the Council of Europe Ambassador Stelian Stoian today and discussed several issues, including CoE-Azerbaijan relations, upcoming elections in Azerbaijan and others. I will meet with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Chairman of the European Court of Human Rights and department chiefs tomorrow.

- You have met Ago Group. What is the suspension of Committee of Minister’ monitoring of Azerbaijan?

- We didn’t discuss this issue with the head of Ago Group, but we will raise this issue at the meeting with the Secretary General. Our position is that Azerbaijan fulfilled a number of commitments. Therefore we consider that it is possible to start the negotiations. We demand to set special monitoring mechanism for Azerbaijan at the PACE level as other countries. The Council of Europe is conducting monitoring of human rights in the member countries.

- When the European Union will announce its annual report on Azerbaijan?

- The report is ready and it should be presented today. The EU representative told me in Baku last week that the report would be ready on May 11 and it would be translated into Azerbaijani and submitted to us. Of course, we will get English version earlier. EU prepared it on the basis of our report. Undoubtedly we have an experience that our relevant ministries learn the EU report and then we make our comments because we have no right to change the report but we will express our ideas. There were two similar reports earlier and we made comments on them.

- The Jackson-Vanik amendment is reportedly halting the Azerbaijan’s membership of the World Trade Organization. What phase the negotiations on WTO membership reach now?

- The Jackson-Vanik amendment will automatically come out of action with the country’s membership of WTO because this amendment covers only the trade issues and WTO membership will mean that everything is right in the sphere of trade in Azerbaijan. There are some progresses in the issue of Azerbaijan’s membership of the World Trade Organization. We submitted our responses to the organization’s secretary and it should be reviewed by the member countries now. At the same time we have new improved proposals for the bilateral talks. We will inform the member countries after the approval of the proposals and then we will wait. If these countries give consent we will conduct bilateral negotiations with them. Then the working group on Azerbaijan should hold its meeting.

- Euronest Assembly was due to hold its first meeting in March but it postponed the meeting. When the meeting will be held or is there any chance to hold it?

- Yes, the meeting was postponed. The question is that they have problems with Belarus. The issue will be reviewed after the elections in Belarus. It was not scheduled yet.