France, Strasbourg, 22 January / corr Trend A.Maharramli / Trend's exclusive interview with Rene Van Deer Linden, who concluded his tenure as the chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
Question: What is your assessment about your own activities as the PACE chairman?
Answer: The apt answer can come from the PACE members, the people with whom I have worked with for so many years. I am very satisfied that during my activities, I contributed towards the process of evolution and development of Europe, providing favor to all the countries and their citizens. I can especially notify the considerable politicization of the CE and establishment of relations with the other religion. Furthermore, I tried to deepen the relations with the European Union, especially, the European Parliament, after signing an agreement on cooperation. When I was the chairman, I did my utmost to draw attention to the relations with the NGO, increase their contribution towards the society, as well as contributed towards the deepening of the relations between the CE and Russia. In my opinion, Russia is a key to the future. The cooperation with this country is very necessary for CE.
The role of private relations is of pivotal importance while maintaining the international relations. There is no need to create the new resistance, dissociation and contradictions between the West and East Europe. It is necessary to create the atmosphere of confidence in these relations. It is important for me to overt the subsequent 10-15 years. On the other hand, non-nomination of the candidature of Margelov to the post of PACE chairman should not be regarded as an action directed against Russia. There are no logical grounds for such statements, because all political groups at the PACE and their heads reached to the agreement in this respect. The people with the other opinions are in minority.
Question: What is your estimation about Azerbaijan's fulfillment of its CE obligations?
Answer: Azerbaijan is still a country, under the monitoring. I hope the Government, the Parliament and political parties of Azerbaijan will make progress towards the fulfillment of their CE obligations. I only want to advice Azerbaijan to show the existence of progress, as it is very important. It is impossible to change everything at once. I will say honestly, the CE must show some patience and tolerance in this process. The fulfillment of important obligations, demonstrates the true selection of the directions and existence of progress.
Question: This year, Azerbaijan is going to presidential elections. What recommendations and assistance could the CE render in this regard?
Answer: We have a mission of holding and organization of the elections, as well as the observations on the elections day. Elections should meet the obligations undertaken, criteria related to speeches to the media, relations with the opposition, and composition of a fair election commissions. The organization and holding of presidential elections should demonstrate that Azerbaijan has achieved progress in this issue.
Question: How do you regard the last discussions over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? What recommendations could you give in connection with chances of achievement of an agreement on the conflict, in the pre-elections situation in both countries?
Answer: I am not informed about the current situation. To speak explicitly, during my visit to the region in July 2007, I was not so optimistic. However, I hope for the improvement in the situation over this period. Indeed, it is important for both the sides to have an intention of solving the conflict through talks, use of the other methods, including force, is quite unacceptable. I hope forthcoming presidential elections in both the countries, will be a new attempt to solve the dispute finally.
I was optimist, touring the region two years ago, because the two presidents were having talks and meetings at that time. Strong will is required for the resolution of the situation. It is very important to settle the conflict, which is a burden for the entire region.
Question: Can the recognition of the Kosovo independence affect the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in any way?
Answer: I have no idea. However, I can say that I do not believe in the solution of the conflict even if Kosovo gains independence. This issue will be discussed at the PACE session this week. It is necessary to know the opinions of MPs. I have impression that the current discussions will be harder than the previous ones.
Question: The agenda of the winter session includes an issue on ecological activities and globalization. Azerbaijan raised an issue on Metzamor nuclear power station in Armenian, stating it to be a real source of threat for the region and ecology. What is your position in this issue?
Answer: I cannot make any comments on this issue. Basically, I am for the atomic energy. However, this power should be produced at the modern nuclear power station meeting the safety rules.
Question: List of candidates to the post of judge from Azerbaijan, to the European Court on Human Rights has been returned back for the next time. What are the reasons?
Answer: To be frank, I am not aware of the reason for it. Firstly, this issue refers to the competence of the Ad Hoc Committee on Human Rights. This Committee implements its work with high reasonability. I do not want discussions on any candidate. Moreover, the discussions whether the candidate will be able to cope up with his duties, are also unacceptable. Therefore, this problem should be discussed with the framework of the Ad Hoc Committee. The return of the list should be confidential.
Question: What is your estimation to Georgia's fulfillment of its CE obligations?
Answer: It is difficult to say anything until the discussions of the issues regarding Georgia are done at the PACE. There is tension on the eve of the parliamentary elections. Clearly, the political elite of Georgia is responsible for the positive constructive atmosphere in the country, so as to avoid any resistance. We will observe attentively and with interests, over the parliamentary elections in Georgia, in line with the norms and standards.