Editor's Note: details have been added after the fifth paragraph
Azerbaijan, Baku, June 11 / Trend E. Ostapenko /
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict impedes Azerbaijan's further progress. It is an obstacle to democratic development, the OSCE's Baku Office head Ali Bilge Cankorel said.
"I do not know a country in the world with an absolute democracy. But every state strives to do more," Cankorel said at the Center for Strategic Studies under the Azerbaijani President.
The CCS held discussions on the topic "OSCE Baku Office's role in support of democratic values in Azerbaijan."
Azerbaijan is a member of the OSCE and the Council of Europe, Cankorel said. And the model of development, which the country has chosen, is a model of these organizations, that is a democratic model.
Noting the involvement of both sides of the conflict - Azerbaijan and Armenia in the process of negotiations, as well as a constructive position of Azerbaijan, Cankorel expressed hope for solving of the conflict.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.
The mandate of the OSCE in Azerbaijan includes all aspects of cooperation, covering the activity of the organization. It includes the humanitarian, political, economic and environmental aspects of stability and security. One of the key aspects of security today is not force protection, but promotion of democracy.
Cankorel said that Azerbaijan is the country of young democracy, which will have a long way to change the mindsets of people and their relationship to democratic values.
"The more credibility country has in the international community, the more chances it has to resolve the conflict", the ambassador said.
The OSCE's work with the government, opposition, Azerbaijani NGOs, gives cause for optimism as the country is serious about the advice of international organizations, Cankorel said.
The OSCE's Baku Office has been operating since 1999. The most significant projects are the work with the Interior Ministry to improve police training, projects to develop renewable energy sources and a program to diversify the economy (together with the Ministry of Environment and Economic Development), a program for monitoring courts as well as improvements in the media.
The Ambassador said that the OSCE staff attend more than 200 trials selectively during the year, monitor their conduct. As a result, they present a report that describes the level of compliance with the standards as a part of the monitoring program of courts, the ambassador said.
This program has a practical significance as there were cases when the judge and the investigator were warned, Cankorel said.
Regarding the legal aspect of the activity, the OSCE is also working to provide competent legal assistance. These centers, besides the capital, operate in Sumgait, Ganja, Lankaran and Sheki.
The ambassador highlighted several important components in the work with the media:
- Improving of the quality of the media;
- Protection of journalists from discrimination;
- Contribution to the fact that TV channels and various publications covered non-government views.