Political will to Resolve Conflict must Come from Parties Themselves, OSCE Chairman

Politics Materials 22 February 2008 16:05 (UTC +04:00)
Political will to Resolve Conflict must Come from Parties Themselves, OSCE Chairman

Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend corr A.Gasimova / Trend ' exclusive interview with the acting OSCE chairman and Foreign Minister of Finland, Ilkka Kanerva

Question: Which key tasks do you aim to settle as acting OSCE chairman? Do you consider there is a need to re-organize OSCE?

Answer: The theme of the Finnish Chairmanship is Continuity, Coherence and Co-operation. Among our objectives is to strengthen the OSCE's capacity to act. We also aim to create enabling conditions for the peaceful resolution of regional conflicts by activating existing negotiation mechanisms and by encouraging all of the parties to resume negotiations to find feasible political resolutions to the conflicts.

We will also strengthen the status of the OSCE as a regional security organization that promotes openness, transparency and co-operation in politico-military issues by deepening the security dialogue among OSCE participating States.

In the economic and environmental fields, we will increase security and protect the environment through focusing the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum process on maritime and inland waterways co-operation in the OSCE area.

Finland will also emphasize respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, implementation of the rule of law and strengthening democratic governance. Particular priorities are combating trafficking in human beings, promoting tolerance and non-discrimination, in particular with regard to Roma and Sinti, as well as gender mainstreaming in all OSCE activities.

Question: International mediators consider the presidential pre-election period in Armenia and Azerbaijan as very important in order to progress and sign a peace agreement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. What efforts may Finland take in this direction? What position do you stick to in the settlement of the conflict on the basis of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and principles of international rights?

Answer: As a Chair of the OSCE, Finland will give its full support to the Minsk Group Co-Chairs in their continuous efforts towards conflict resolution. We also consider the activities of the Chairman-in-Office's Personal Representative important. I intend to visit both Armenia and Azerbaijan at the end of February. My Special Envoy, Heikki Talvitie, will also work actively to support the existing conflict-resolution structures and to promote conflict resolution. However, the political will to resolve the conflict must come from the parties themselves. We call for political courage from all leaders.

Question: What way out of the Kosovo crisis do you see, taking into consideration that international mediators themselves consider is impossible to settle the issue concerning the status through negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade?

Answer: As you know, the OSCE is not involved in status negotiations.

But let me add: as OSCE Chairman-in-Office I firmly believe the OSCE should remain active in Kosovo, for the protection of the rights of all communities. The people of Kosovo and its developing institutions there still need our help. I am proud of all the OSCE has accomplished, but there is still much to be done, and I hope that we will be able to continue this essential work.

Question: Do you plan to pay a visit to the South Caucasus? When will the visit take place and what issues are you planning to discuss as acting OSCE chairman and Foreign Minister of Finland?

Answer: Yes, I plan to visit the South Caucasus at the end of February. During my trips as Chairman-in-Office, I usually meet with the leaders to discuss how the OSCE can help a country implement the commitments it has made as an OSCE participating State. Other issues, such as elections and regional conflicts, will also be discussed.