Frank Schwabe switches to blackening OSCE after Azerbaijan: what's his plot?

Politics Analytics 26 January 2024 19:54 (UTC +04:00)
Frank Schwabe switches to blackening OSCE after Azerbaijan: what's his plot?
Elchin Alioghlu
Elchin Alioghlu
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 26. The Germans regard the citizens of the small town of Waltrop as ordinary and hardworking. Unusually, Frank Schwabe, who was born in Waltrop 54 years ago, appears to have chosen to break the mold and stick out of the crowd by altering the perception of this town in the German province of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Frank Schwabe has been a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany since 2005, and he presently leads the Social Democrats' faction in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Notoriously enjoying disrepute and known as "Korrupte Seele" ("Corrupted Soul" in German), he has been chameleonizing a variety of strategies to strengthen his position in PACE and eventually gain participation in the European Parliament.

Frank Schwabe's recent efforts in PACE, particularly his principal demand for the non-ratification of the Azerbaijani delegation's powers, are not entirely this troublemaker's own initiative.

Schwabe effectively carried out a political directive by accepting the resolution, which represented the consistent stance of political forces in France and Germany.

However, his goals extend beyond simply supporting a resolution intended to considerably chill relations with Azerbaijan, a country of special importance in terms of geopolitical, economic, and geostrategic interests for both the European Union and the Council of Europe in the South Caucasus.

According to the preamble of the guidelines Schwabe received, Europe is in charge of regulating communications between the EU and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which are acknowledged as Europe's two principal political bodies.

This demand stems from France's losing influence in the European arena during the last four years, the increased significance of the European Parliament and PACE, and, ultimately, the strengthening of the French government's authority over these institutions.

For this reason, Schwabe, dissatisfied with penalties imposed merely on the Azerbaijani delegation, has included the OSCE as a target in the process.

In an interview with the BBC Azerbaijani service, he made statements that are expected to have a considerable impact on the European Union.

"Our rapporteurs in Azerbaijan requested to visit Baku, but they were denied entry into the country. Similar instances have occurred. Additionally, the organization was not extended an invitation to observe the extraordinary presidential election scheduled in Azerbaijan for February 7. This is a universal obligation for every country, and all others adhere to it. However, Azerbaijan invited the OSCE instead of us. Such decisions are not solely at the discretion of Azerbaijan. The government of Azerbaijan cannot unilaterally decide which organization to invite for election observation. We should have received an invitation," he said.

"Now, they are aware that a substantial critical report on the election will come from the Council of Europe, and they are hopeful that the OSCE report will not be as critical. This underscores the importance of upholding democratic values and rules that prevail in Europe and within our organization without allowing room for manipulation or games," he added.

Frank Schwabe is evidently attempting to sow discord between the PACE and the OSCE regarding the division of power and the definition of their operational mechanisms. Simultaneously, he openly asserts that PACE, the organization he represents, is "more objective, honest, and realistic" when compared to the OSCE.

This represents a challenge to the political constructs of the European Union, as it accuses the OSCE of corruption, inferiority, and a subjective approach without valid grounds. To be more specific, Schwabe generally asserts that OSCE election monitoring and observation missions are pointless, superficial, and unnecessary.

What the German MP stated in his interview with the BBC, to be direct, amounts to a humiliation of the OSCE and an insult to its leadership and spokespersons.

Going further, Schwabe accused Azerbaijan of "playing a game" against the OSCE, expressing dissatisfaction with that aspect as well.

"I am dissatisfied with the OSCE's visit to Azerbaijan because we have an agreement that no country should use us against each other. Therefore, either we are invited together or none of us go to that country. This is what I expect from the OSCE. Although the OSCE is aware of our stance, negotiations are ongoing in this regard, but they are facing pressure from the Azerbaijani side. They understand that during the discussions on the future of the OSCE in October this year, they will require the support of all countries, including Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan prefers to invite the OSCE and keep the Council of Europe at a distance. This is unacceptable, and we will not allow this to happen," Schwabe noted.

Azerbaijan's expectations and desires from the OSCE, PACE, European Parliament, and EU in general are simple, known, and transparent.

The Government of Azerbaijan insists that these organizations adopt a democratic, objective, truthful, impartial, and honest approach grounded in the norms and principles of international law.

So far, both PACE and the European Parliament have frequently endorsed documents demonstrating a biased, subjective, and selective approach to international law. Most concerning is the substitution of double standards for the principles outlined in the preamble of the law.

Engaging in racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, Turkophobia, overtly supporting Armenia and Armenians, and baselessly leveling paranoid accusations against Azerbaijan cannot be deemed actions within the realm of partnership or cooperation.

Frank Schwabe's statements suggest that he categorizes any politician, structure, or organization providing truthful, fact-based, and objective assessments about Azerbaijan as "captured," "oppressed," or "corrupt."

In the vocabulary of this political figure, synonyms for the word "Azerbaijan" exclusively consist of terms associated with negative or illegal actions.

In contrast to political figures like Schwabe, the leadership of the EU, NATO, and OSCE, as well as authoritative experts and rapporteurs within these organizations, comprehends the core of Azerbaijan's domestic and foreign policy, Baku's strategy, and regional tactics. They recognize that Azerbaijan is not only a formidable force in the South Caucasus but also a state capable of influencing processes in Central and West Asia. This acknowledgement extends from ensuring the energy security of the European Union to implementing an objective policy in the fight against international terrorism and countering the irrational behavior of states vying for geopolitical hegemony.

Frank Schwabe portrays an image of a politician who, despite possessing the capability to analyze the situation, seemingly fails to comprehend these dynamics.

Otherwise, he wouldn't have dismissed as a trivial matter the undeniable fact that PACE had virtually no impact on Armenia during the years of Armenian occupation, where 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories were taken, and remained indifferent to the fate of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs.

PACE, which, after Azerbaijan acceded to the Council of Europe in 2001, seemed to ignore the Armenian occupation, separatism, and widespread violations of the rights and freedoms of Azerbaijanis by Armenia until 2020, now aims to advocate for the rights of Karabakh Armenians by asserting alleged pressure on them.

"This was clear to everyone. But we are not an organization dealing with territorial conflicts; there are other organizations handling these issues." With such an absurd statement, Frank Schwabe dodged the question about it.

Azerbaijan sought PACE to play a genuine and practical role, not in resolving the territorial conflict but in putting an end to the severe violation of the rights of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis by both Armenia and Karabakh Armenians.

This did not happen because PACE was and continues to be more concerned with the implementation of mercantile goals than with human rights.

Regarding Frank Schwabe's efforts to incite intrigue and confrontation between PACE and OSCE, we hope that the relevant entities within the European Union will make efforts to understand the motivations behind these counterproductive games.

This time, the OSCE has become a target amid the devastation of the European apparatus for political cooperation and communication.

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