Interview of Trend with the Ambassador of Austria in South Caucasus Mrs. Heidemaria Guerer
How do you appreciate the present level of relations between Austria and Azerbaijan? In what spheres, to your opinion, the most successful cooperation is possible?
The bilateral relations between Austria and Azerbaijan are very well developed. Azerbaijan is our most important trading partner in the Southern Caucasus. Austrian Airlines calls on Baku. Relations are also developed in the political and cultural field.
The most agreements signed so far are the ones on economic relations, on the avoidance of double taxation, investment protection, cooperation of the ministries of interior, between the Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna and the State University of Azerbaijan.
Austria opened an information centre at the University of Foreign Languages in Baku, the cultural-scientific exchange is flourishing. More opportunities are still to be found in trade and investment relations, though some of the most important Austrian enterprises are already active in Azerbaijan, e.g. the Austrian oil and gas company OEMV and VOEST, the Austrian leading steel company.
The conditions for getting visa to Austria have toughened lately (the French Embassy in charge of it in Azerbaijan). Does not it affect negatively for the development of bilateral relations, in the tourism sphere, in particular?
So far tourism has not yet developed very significantly between our two countries. Austria is in the process for looking for other Schengen visa issuing partners.
How do you assess the prospects of cooperation of the both countries on the world arena, taking into account the fact, that Austria hosts representative offices of a number of international organizations, including OSCE?
Cooperation in the international field between Austria and Azerbaijan has always been very intense as due to the alphabetical sitting order in international organizations Austria always is seated next to the Azerbaijani representatives. Austria also ends her experts to representations of international organizations in Azerbaijan, e.g. to the OSCE office in Baku or the International Red Cross in Baku вЂ" just to name a few.
Also in the UN framework and the Council of Europe consultations take place
What is the AustriaвЂ™s position on the regional problems in South Caucasus, namely, the Nagorno-Karabakh problem?
1.) Austria shares the opinion of most of the countries that the regional problems in the Southern Caucasus should only be tackled by peaceful means.
The principles of territorial integrity and self determination of people, both enshrined in the relevant OSCE acts, have to be respected and combined. Austria is always ready to help with her вЂњgood officesвЂќ and thus contribute to the solution of the conflicts. Due to her function as seat of the OSCE Austria is open for hosting any related meetings, conferences, etc..
Is involvement of Austrian observers in monitoring of the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan planned?
Austrian observers will participate.