Ambassador Arif Mammadov: “After achieving common agreement the delegation led by Edward O’Hara can visit the region” - EXCLUSIVE

Ambassador Arif Mammadov: “After achieving common agreement the delegation led by Edward O’Hara can visit the region” -<font color=red> EXCLUSIVE  </font>
# 19 December 2008 07:58 (UTC +04:00)
- Will PACE January session discuss any issue on Azerbaijan?

PACE January session will not cover any issue on Azerbaijan. You know that PACE has various Subcommittees and Bureaus. These organizations function during PACE session and if one of these bodies include any issue on Azerbaijan in agenda , it can be debated within the limited framework.

-Can there be a meeting between Azerbaijani and Armenian delegations within the framework of session?

We have not received any information about it by now. There can by any agreement to hold proper meeting during PACE session. We have not any information to hold the meeting at present.

- When will PACE Sub-Committee on the Cultural Heritage visit the region?

Discussions on this issue are conducted within the framework of PACE Committee on Culture, Science and Education. The sides stated their positions and proposals to the Committee. If a common agreement is achieved, the delegation led by Edward O’Hara will visit the region.

- Can a new chairman of Subcommittee on Nagorno Karabakh be elected within the framework of the session?

The issue can be raised for discussion in PACE Bureau any time. The main issue is existence of proper candidates.

What can you say about appointment of special rapporteur on political prisoners in Azerbaijan?

PACE focuses on this issue every time. Azerbaijan has gained successes in the fields of human rights, democracy, and legitimacy. Politicization of these issues by preconceived and interesting persons caused negative situations. Political prisoner includes into this list . As a result of humanist and wise policy of the President Ilham Aliyev this issue is being solved at present. Decrees of pardon turned into annual good tradition and are appreciated by the Council of Europe.

- What changes in the attitude toward Azerbaijan within the Council of Europe are seen after the presidential elections?

-I can note with great pleasure that the Council of Europe welcomed transparency of the last presidential elections in Azerbaijan, work done toward this and international cooperation as well. The council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis sent a letter of congratulation to President Ilham Aliyev confirming that the Council of Europe highly appreciated the elections.

- Are the Council of Europe officials planning to visit Azerbaijan in near future?

-There is a great interest to Azerbaijan at the council of Europe. It is result of that Azerbaijan is the most powerful country of the region and has close cooperation and efforts of integration into Europe. In contrast with Georgia and Armenia, Azerbaijan provided fair and transparent elections. The Council of Europe compares it with the elections held in other countries. In contrast with Azerbaijan, in the two other countries of the South Caucasus the people dissatisfying with the elections faced with force and violence. Mass arrests and killing of tens of peoples occurred in the protest actions and hundreds of people, including members of the parliament are still in prison in Armenia. In this case Azerbaijan’s policy based on the political culture and democracy is given as an example for some countries. The Council of Europe Secretary General attended the recent meeting of the ministers of culture of member countries in Baku, which was an indication of high attitude to Azerbaijan. Next year the Council’s top officials expected to visit Azerbaijan.

- Will Azerbaijan continue its cooperation with the Venice Commission on the changes to the Electoral Code relating to the municipal elections?

-There are close cooperation between the government of Azerbaijan and the Venice Commission. The Electoral Code and Freedom of Assembly law were adopted within the cooperation with the Venice Commission. Changes to the Electoral Code relating to the municipal elections are not expected yet to be discussed with the Venice Commission.

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