Baku, Azerbaijan, July 5
By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:
Azerbaijan has its own principled position on all international issues considered on the platform of the OSCE, and this position is based on the country’s national interests, Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the OSCE, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Austria Galib Israfilov told Trend.
"To date, we have many supporters in the OSCE, and thanks to this, Azerbaijan’s position is well supported in the organization," the diplomat said.
The OSCE is a consensus-based organization, and the decision-making process depends on political will and acceptability, Israfilov said, adding that the OSCE is also a broad platform for discussing different issues and interests of various groups of states and political blocs.
"The OSCE doesn’t deal with the practical implementation of the neutralization of threats, as NATO or the CSTO does," he noted. "These blocs have different goals and values, and they represent two opposing military blocs in the OSCE: Azerbaijan, which doesn’t belong to either of these two blocs and political groups operating within the framework of the OSCE, implements its own policy based on principles and commitments agreed upon with the OSCE and backed by the national interests and position of the country."
He added that the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the priority issue for Baku on this international platform.
Decisions were made within the framework of the OSCE in 1992-1994 on both the formats of the settlement and the composition of the countries involved in the group of mediators, the diplomat noted.
Further, the settlement process passed to the competence of the OSCE Minsk Group, the ambassador said, adding that the OSCE Minsk Group was active in the late 1990s, and at the moment all the group’s work is carried out only by its co-chairs.
"It is for you to say whether it is good or bad," he said. "We see the ineffectiveness of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ activity for the last 23 years since the establishment of this group. There are no significant and effective results of the OSCE Minsk Group’s work yet, but we hope that the co-chairs will make more efforts in this sphere."
"Azerbaijan expects Austria, currently chairing the OSCE, to take significant and effective actions in the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," the diplomat said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
"OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurtz is expected to visit South Caucasus in accordance with his mandate," Israfilov said.
Speaking about this visit, Israfilov added that there are some factors that impede the visit.
"First of all, there is a complicated situation in the OSCE," he said. "The positions of the OSCE Secretary General, as well as the heads of the three institutions of the organization, are still vacant. It is necessary to appoint people to these vacancies for the organization to fully operate."
"Secondly, Austria is chairing the OSCE, while Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurtz - the current chairman of the organization," he said. "Kurtz is currently involved in a rather tough political struggle in Austria, where the next parliament election is scheduled for October 15. Kurz, who heads the Austrian People's Party, intends to nominate himself for the post of Chancellor in case of victory."
"Therefore, the internal agenda prevails over the elements of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office’s agenda in Kurz’s work schedule," the diplomat added. "The visit to Azerbaijan and other countries of the South Caucasus region will depend on the results of the election in Austria."