Baku, Azerbaijan, May 6
By Sabina Ahmadova - Trend:
As a country, who suffered from ongoing aggression of neighboring Armenia with occupation and notorious ethnic cleansing on the internationally recognized territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan we are of strong and firm position that any visits of the representatives of the Council of Europe and its monitoring mechanisms to the conflict zones shall be carried only on the explicit agreement of the government concerned, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said while speaking at the 124th session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Vienna, Austria.
The minister added that otherwise, these visits will contradict to the norms of international law and can be assessed as illegal.
By successfully implementing wide range of consistent democratic reforms, Azerbaijan has fulfilled the commitments and obligations undertaken in the process of accession to the Council of Europe, Mammadyarov said in his speech.
"We are certain that the recently adopted Council of Europe - Azerbaijan Action Plan for 2014-2016 which will be launched very soon and during the visit of the Secretary General to Baku, it will be another important tool for successful cooperation between the Council of Europe and Azerbaijan in the years to come," the foreign minister stressed.
Mammadyarov underscored that Azerbaijan will be privileged to take the lead at the Committee of Ministers over the next 6 months.
"During the whole period of our chairmanship, we will spare no efforts to further advance the objectives the Council of Europe has been pursuing since its inception. To this end, we have taken full account of the challenges encountered by the member states," the minister said.
Mammadyarov went on to add that the Secretary General's report on the "State of human rights, rule of law and democracy in Europe" contains general assessment of current situation, an approach that we support, and offers possible means for rectifying shortcomings.
"Nevertheless, I find myself obliged to underline one important issue which we considered to be watched very very carefully: the report suggests the necessity of engagement of monitoring mechanisms of the Council of Europe in unresolved conflict zones through visits to those territories with subsequent reporting procedures. We understand the importance of ensuring full application of human rights standards throughout Europe and necessity of protection of population in conflict zones. However, this provision is susceptible to be easily misused and manipulated in defiance of territorial integrity of the member states concerned."
"Therefore, we should be extremely cautious in dealing with such delicate issues having the potential to further complicate the difficult settlement process," Azerbaijani foreign minister said.