Azerbaijan, Baku Trend corr. A. Gasimova / Trend's interview with EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Javier Solana
Question: The resolution of Kosovo problem remains on focus of the world community. Taking into the consideration the international mediators' statements on inefficiency of efforts, what actions should be taken further?
Answer: As you know, during the Troika process, the parties were unable to reach an agreement on the final status of Kosovo. Neither party was willing to cede its position. This is of course regrettable, as a negotiated settlement remains in the best interest of both parties.
Now, the EU has repeatedly stated that the status quo is unsustainable and stressed the need to move forward towards a Kosovo settlement which is essential for European and regional stability. Such a settlement should ensure a democratic, multi-ethnic Kosovo committed to the rule of law, and to the protection of minorities and cultural and religious heritage.
We are also aware that Kosovo is mainly a European responsibility as we believe that the Western Balkans, including Kosovo, have their future in the European Union.
Question: Tehran calls on the international community, in particular, the IAEA, to close the nuclear file on Iran, because it was confirmed that the Iranian nuclear program is of peace nature. Are there any unsettled issues with Iran and is there a necessity for the adoption of the third resolution by the UN Security Council?
Answer: The international community continues to have serious doubts on the exclusively civilian nature of the Iranian nuclear programme. We have serious concerns about Iran's failure to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities as well as the heavy-water reactor project. That is why Iran must take all the steps required by IAEA and produce tangible and rapid results in implementing the work-plan agreed with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
On 22 January, I met in Berlin with representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. A further resolution relating to sanctions to be imposed on Iran was drafted for presentation to the United Nations Security Council. The EU will apply what is decided by the United Nations Security Council.
The international community will stick to its dual-track approach, whereby, on the one hand, pressure on Iran is increased gradually and proportionately in relation to its non-compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions and, on the other hand, the international community is ready to pursue and enhance diplomatic efforts with Iran. I will pursue my efforts to seek a negotiated solution.
Question: What are the EU's priorities with respect to the South Caucasus, in particular, Azerbaijan, in 2008? To what extent is the EU interested in further expansion of relations with this region?
Answer: The South Caucasus is our neighbour. It is also a major intersection in the world. It is therefore important for the European Union that the region continues on the path of reforms, consolidating stability and democracy and enhancing the conditions for prosperity and sustainable development. We shall continue to support these efforts, particularly in the context of the implementation of the Action Plan of the European Neighbourhood Policy which remains the basis of our cooperation.
This is also a year of elections in the region. On 5 January, Presidential elections were held in Georgia and the big challenge ahead now is the Parliamentary elections in the Spring. In February, there are Presidential elections in Armenia and later in the year Presidential elections in Azerbaijan. The European Union will continue to assist the countries in the region to ensure that the elections are free and fair.
Then there are the unresolved conflicts. We will continue supporting international efforts to solve these conflicts, including in Nagorno-Karabakh. We are also ready to support confidence building measures, as we are already doing in Georgia. And last but not least, we encourage the countries in the region to find constructive ways to improve their relations with their neighbours. Here again, we are ready to help.
Question: What is your estimation of the results of the presidential elections in Georgia? Could the results of elections affect the public and political situation in Georgia?
Answer: The recent Presidential elections in Georgia were peaceful and truly competitive. I would like to congratulate the Georgian people. It is a clear step forward. But international observers also noted significant shortcomings. It is urgent that Georgia corrects the identified problems to ensure successful Parliamentary elections in Spring. The European Union stands ready to assist Georgia.