Austria aware of responsibility in settling Karabakh conflict: OSCE future chair (INTERVIEW)

Austria aware of responsibility in settling Karabakh conflict: OSCE future chair (INTERVIEW)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 2

By Anakhanum Hidayatova – Trend:

Trend has had an exclusive interview with Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s minister for foreign affairs, who will chair the OSCE starting from 2017 when his country takes over the OSCE presidency from Germany.

How do you assess the current state of bilateral political relations between Austria and Azerbaijan? What will be the main priorities of Austria in its relations with Azerbaijan in the future?

The bilateral relations between Austria and Azerbaijan are very good and intense. One proof of this are the numerous high level visits over the last years: the then Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer paid an official visit to Azerbaijan in 2011 and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev returned the visit in May 2013. The presidents met again in November 2013 when in Vienna OSCE sponsored talks on Nagorno-Karabakh were held. Personally, I visited Azerbaijan in September 2014; furthermore I met Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at several occasions, the last bilateral meeting we had in the margins of the UN-GA in New York last September. Only a few days later Secretary General Michael Linhart visited Baku for political consultations.

Azerbaijan is Austria’s most important trading partner in the southern Caucasus and there is a huge potential for cooperation in the “Silk Road” and “New Spice Road” projects. We have identified many areas for intensified cooperation like culture, science and education. The Diplomatic Academy in Vienna offers annual Executive Training Programs for junior diplomats and civil service officials from the Black Sea/South Caucasus Region and participants from Azerbaijan are most welcome.

We appreciate Azerbaijan’s role as one key provider of energy security for the EU; the deepening of this energy partnership as well as closer cooperation in Azerbaijan’s effort to diversify its economy should be priorities also in our future relationship.

Austria also takes note of Azerbaijan’s fight against radicalization and violent extremism. The fight against terrorism – of course in full compliance with our human rights obligations – should be a common priority; the painful experience shows that terrorism is a global problem which can be stopped only by close international cooperation and by addressing the root causes.

Another priority is an open dialogue over the shared values, especially those of democracy and human rights. And finally, we will also in the future offer our experience in confidence building measures, which are indispensable for the peaceful settlement of regional conflicts.

Austria will be chairing the OSCE next year. Considering the protracted conflicts in the OSCE area, what Austria can do to bring Azerbaijan and Armenia closer to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and start working on the peace agreement?

This is a decisive period and together with our international partners in the OSCE and the EU we are very clear that there can only be a peaceful solution to this conflict. We therefore call on all sides to focus on dialogue and diplomacy. There are ideas and offers on the table to strengthen trust and foster cooperation. The basic elements for further negotiations towards a peace agreement have been agreed upon by both Presidents - the “Madrid Principles”, with small adaptations, have been on the table now for nearly 10 years - so there is a basis and concrete issues to speak about.

As a neutral country, and a country to chair the organization that has provided the major framework for negotiations of this conflict, we are fully aware of our high responsibility in this respect. While Austria is not a member in the Minsk Group, we are ready to help in its mediation efforts during our OSCE Chairmanship, and will also support the other elements of the “Minsk Process”. Azerbaijanis and Armenians can be assured that Austria is prepared to help in their search for a peaceful solution of this conflict – through offering our neutral territory for negotiations, expert dialogue, youth meetings or any other activities that support to focus on peace and exclude the perspectives of war.

Azerbaijan and the EU should soon be holding the negotiations related to the strategic agreement between the sides. What the EU and Azerbaijan should focus on, to make the mutual cooperation as effective as possible?

Over the past two decades, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PAC) signed between the EU and Azerbaijan in 1996 and being in force since 1999, has served as a solid framework for relations between the EU and Azerbaijan. Today Azerbaijan forms also part of the EU Eastern Partnership Program which envisages a differentiated approach towards Eastern Partnership countries addressing their particular needs and priorities. In this framework Azerbaijan only recently tabled an initiative for a new EU-Azerbaijani agreement. Currently, the Council and the European Commission are finalizing the mandate to negotiate a Comprehensive Agreement, and we expect negotiations to start in the foreseeable future. Austria is convinced that such an agreement will be beneficial for both sides, strengthen the cooperation and offer new opportunities. Until the new Comprehensive Agreement will enter into force, the working document between the EU and Azerbaijan remains the PAC.

Azerbaijan initiated the Southern Gas Corridor project, which will play a significant role in strengthening Europe’s energy security and ensuring the diversification of energy sources. How do you assess the current progress in the implementation of the project?

Austria is in favour of diversification efforts of energy suppliers and routes for the European Union. The Southern Gas Corridor has therefore strong support by Austria; it is also considered a strategic project by the EU connecting the Caspian and Middle East regions. At the same time, the Southern Gas Corridor is a challenging project. However, all countries along the route, including the important transit partner Turkey, are expected to continue close cooperation with the EU to finalise this project. Currently, there are no reasons to doubt the targeted completion of the first phase of the Southern Gas Corridor by 2020.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Georgian FM meets Slovenian counterpart
Georgian FM meets Slovenian counterpart
Gasoline prices in Georgia increase
Gasoline prices in Georgia increase
Export-oriented local Georgian company to get benefits within USAID program
Export-oriented local Georgian company to get benefits within USAID program
Loading Bars
Latest
UK records more than 40,000 COVID cases for third day in a row
Biden says Clinton will be released ‘shortly’ from California hospital
Amazon-owned Twitch says source code exposed in last week's data breach
Israel's annual inflation up 2.5 pct, highest in nearly decade
Africa's COVID-19 cases surpass 8.41 mln: Africa CDC
US shares specific data on cybercrime with Russia, awaits its actions, White House says
Saudi Arabia appoints Al-Rabiah as new Hajj minister
Chronicles of Victory: President Ilham Aliyev interviewed by Turkish A Haber TV channel on October 16, 2020 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 16, 2020
Czech PM Babis pledges smooth power handover to opposition
UK MP dies after being stabbed at constituency meeting
China’s Shenzhou-13 manned spacecraft successfully reach orbit
Four migrants dead, 21 missing off Spanish coast
FIA approves schedule for Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2022
COVID-19 kills 197 more Iranians over past 24 hours
Georgian FM meets Slovenian counterpart
Armenia trying to prepare ground for new provocations against Azerbaijan by spreading fake information - MoD
Azerbaijani FM discusses mine threat in liberated territories with French CNEMA delegates (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan lifts flight restrictions for number of countries
Azerbaijani President signs law "On Independence Day"
EBRD to allocate loan to Turkmen beverage company
Azerbaijan records decline in fixed capital revenues for 9M2021
Turkmenistan, WB talk new areas of co-op
Uzbek-Korean JV announces tender to buy clarifier
Gasoline prices in Georgia increase
Money transfers to Azerbaijan via Golden Crown service grow for 9M2021
Iran looking to develop renewable energy - SATBA
Azerbaijani MoD discusses mine clearing in liberated territories with French delegation (PHOTO)
Iran eyeing increase in trade with Spain
Export-oriented local Georgian company to get benefits within USAID program
Saudi Arabia to ease coronavirus curbs from Oct. 17
Russia, Venezuela developing secured messenger — Rostec
Kazatomprom to look for new ways to bolster nuclear energy for peaceful purposes
Turkmenistan discloses area allotted for sowing winter barley in Dashoguz region
Agreement with Azerbaijan on additional gas supplies aimed at ensuring Turkey's gas reserves – Erdogan
First container train on its way to Azerbaijan's Karabakh (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Uzbekneftegaz receives gas flow from well at Khojikazgan field
Kazakhstan to exempt Caspian oil exports from customs duties
Kazakhstan unveils data on trade with other EAEU states
Volume of financial assets of non-financial corporations in Georgia increases
LUKOIL Uzbekistan to buy ceramic balls for catalysts via tender
Azerbaijan, as victorious country, is ready to normalize relations. We hope that Armenian leadership will not pass up on this historic opportunity - President Aliyev
U.S. administers 405.4 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines
Кazakh national telecommunications operator opens tender to buy spares
Geostat shares data on revenues of Georgian enterprises for 2020
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Netherlands’ FMO is open to new investments in Uzbek financial sector (Exclusive)
Azerbaijan confirms 1,850 more COVID-19 cases, 735 recoveries
Student of Baku Higher Oil School: ‘I am proud to bear the name of such a historical figure!’
French Renault begins production and commercial activities in Uzbekistan
NEQSOL Holding supports ADA University’s project to restore Gazakh Seminary (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan's agrarian agency discloses volume of issued subsidies in 9M2021
Money transfers to Georgia exceed investments
Russian peacekeepers - guarantors of peace in Karabakh - President Putin
Georgian air cargo transportation decreases
Azerbaijan ready to start talks with Armenia on delimitation of borders - President Ilham Aliyev
TAP helped in reducing European gas market volatility
Armenia has destroyed 16 of the 17 mosques in Shusha - President Aliyev
President Ilham Aliyev: Armenia refuses to provide us with full maps of mined areas
For about 30 years, Armenia, together with Iran, used former occupied territories of Azerbaijan for drug trafficking to Europe - President Aliyev
Illegal Armenian armed forces attempt new provocation against Azerbaijani units
Azerbaijan's State Employment Agency to launch project on financial support of entrepreneurs
President Ilham Aliyev hailed special role of President Vladimir Putin in cessation of hostilities in Karabakh
City of Aghdam was called “Hiroshima of the Caucasus” - Azerbaijani president
Karabakh conflict has been consigned to history - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan takes part in meeting of heads of security and intelligence agencies of CIS
Brent oil price on the ICE exchange up over $ 85/barrel
Iran seeks to transform its ports to transshipment hubs
Microfinance sector in Georgia hopes to rebound from COVID-19, shares forecast
President Ilham Aliyev attends CIS Heads of State Council's session in video conference format (PHOTO)
France's intention to take part in de-mining of Azerbaijan's lands - important, MP says
Death toll climbs to seven following fatal gun battles in Beirut
Azerbaijani ombudsman issues statement on anniversary of shelling of funeral procession in Tartar by Armenian troops
EBRD talks on financing of construction of high-voltage transmission line in Uzbekistan
Israeli companies getting increasingly interested in Russian market — Lavrov
TAP compensated decreasing share of imports from Norway and other LNG to Europe
Azerbaijan’s Parliament adopts bill ‘On Independence Day’
Agriculture goods production increases in Kazakhstan
Turkmenistan’s cotton mill shares export data for 9M2021
Kazakhstan unveils data on local car insurance
Turkmen enterprise reveals volume of oil products shipped to consumers
Uzbekistan approves funding for dozen of scientific projects
Azerbaijan’s Parliament to send congratulatory letter to President Ilham Aliyev, First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva
Azerbaijani agrarian agency talks female entrepreneurs provided with preferential loans
Uzbekistan reveals number of vaccinated citizens as of October 15
Kazakhstan boosts cargo transportation by road
USAID ready to continue investing in agriculture dev’t in Azerbaijan
JOCAP updates on offshore installation campaign for Absheron field
JOCAP details ongoing works at Azerbaijan’s Absheron gas field
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for October 15
IEA lowers forecasts for Azerbaijan’s 2022 oil output
Georgian honey exports skyrocket, following COVID-ravaged year
Azersu OJSC eyes attracting investments for implementation of its projects
Oil prices climb on power boost, set for multi-week gains
Brand new iPhone 13 smartphones with 50GB free internet now available at Azercell Exclusive shops!
Georgia and International Labor Organization to launch new co-op programs
Kazakhstan eyes expanding share of exports of Russian trading house
Uzbekistan shares COVID-19 data for October 15
Turkmenistan, UN discuss strategic cooperation
Kazakhstan's Aktau port opens tender to buy electric valve actuator
All news