An interview of Trend with the Austrian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, MP Heidermaria Guerer
Question: How do you estimate the current state of cooperation between Austria and Azerbaijan? What are the prospects of development of bilateral relationships in the middle-term perspective?
Answer: Cooperation between Austria and Azerbaijan is excellent and manifold. We have the most diversified field of cooperation be in the cultural, scientific, economic, security or political field. A wide range of contacts take place in this respect, high level visits, signing of respective agreements. During last year we have had several visits on Ministers and Deputy Ministers level. Austrian enterprises are engaged through joint ventures in Azerbaijan, the Austrian Airlines AUA is calling on Baku five times a week. But trade though Azerbaijan is the most important trading partner of Austria in the Southern Caucasus can still be developed. In the mid-term all fields of cooperation can be further strengthened, special emphasis should be given in my opinion to education and economic relations. A prerequisite in both cases is of course the respect of the rule of
Question: Which role could Vienna play in the development of cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan?
During the Austrian presidency, we will continue to support the further implementation of the ENP Action Plans and hope that the European Neighbourhood Policy countries will continue to eagerly pursue their reform process. This will further improve the stability of the region as well as its economic and institutional settings.
We welcome that consultations concerning the Action Plans have started also with your country and we will try to conclude the negotiations with all three South Caucasian countries under our presidency. We hope that once the Action Plans are in place we can begin with their implementation as soon as possible.
Besides their focus on democratic and economic reforms, the ENP Action Plans with all three South Caucasian countries further aim at intensifying the regional cooperation and contributing to conflict solution. This will benefit the region as a whole.
Finally, we also plan to conclude negotiations on the new European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument, which should finance projects in the ENP countries amongst them also Azerbaijan as from 2007. This new financial instrument will also contribute to the implementation of ENP Action Plans
Question: What is Austrias position on regional problems in the South Caucasus, in particular, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? Does Austria plan to intensify in 2006 its efforts on the resolution of the problem?
Answer: We still hope that the year 2006 is a window of opportunity for the solution process of the Nagorno Karabakh problem. Austria always stands ready to offer her good offices and as seat of the OSCE is also always ready as a meeting place and a place of seminars, encounters, etc. Any intensifying process will of course be supported by Austria, also in her capacity as present Presidency of the European Union. Austrias Peace University Stadtschlaining has gained large experience in conflict resolution seminars concerning the Southern Caucasus several seminars with the participation of representatives of all conflicting parties in the Southern Caucasus were held in Austria as well as in all three countries of the Southern Caucasus. We will continue this practice.
Question: What is the position of Vienna on export of energy resources from the Caspian region to the Eurpoena markets?
Answer: Energy security is one of the most topic questions these days. No one could/should rely on exclusive energy sources diversification is needed more than ever. In this respect the energy resources of the Southern Caucasus and the respective pipeline systems play an important role also for Europe and Austria especially. The National Austrian oil and gas society Г-MV has specific interests in this field and has also in the past be engaged with some countries of the wider region.