Interview of Trendwith Karel de Gucht, the chairman -in-office, the Belgium Foreign Minister
Question: In what directions does the OSCE intend to cooperate with the South Caucasus countries, in particular with Azerbaijan?
Answer: The three South Caucasus countries are full members of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which consists of 55 participating states. The OSCE has in each of these countries a field presence.
Regarding Azerbaidjan, the OSCE Permanent Council decided on 16th November 1999 to establish an OSCE OFFICE in Baku, with a full and comprehensive mandate encompassing the following tasks:
Promote the implementation of OSCE principles and commitments as well as the co-operation of the Republic of Azerbaijan within the OSCE framework, in all OSCE dimensions, including the human, economic and environmental aspects of security and stability.
Facilitate contacts, co-ordinate activities and promote information exchange with the Chairman-in-Office and other OSC institutions as well as co-operation with international organizations and institutions.
Establish and maintain contacts with local authorities, universities, research institutions and NGOs and assist in arranging events with OSCE participation.
Perform other tasks deemed appropriate by the Chairman-in-Office or other OSCE institutions and agreed on between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the OSCE.
Consequently, the OSCE Office in Baku is involved in many useful activities such as the police assistance programme; the training of national trial monitors, small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) as well as regional economic development, good governance and anti-corruption, environmental awareness-raising, and promotion of renewable energy resources.
Question: What are the priority directions of OSCEs efforts for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Answer: Political dialogue remains the only acceptable way to resolve the dispute. Any other solution is not compatible with OSCE values and commitments.
If some form of agreement on basic principles is reached, the OSCE stands ready to make a major contribution in terms of putting this agreement into practice.
There would be a lot more work to be done to translate an agreement into a fully-fledged peace treaty, backed by international guarantees. I can promise that the OSCE is prepared to assist as much as possible in this process.
Question: Is there a necessity for the location of peacemaking forces in the conflict zone?
Answer: The OSCE stands ready to assist with the implementation of an agreement, including establishing a peacekeeping force or facilitating economic and environmental agreements, if a request is made by the parties.
Are you satisfied with the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group?
Answer: The Belgian Chairmanship, in co-operation with the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Group, will do everything to move the peace process forward. I want to invest my time in the process so that, if a solution comes about, we can ensure that it could work on the ground.
Question: Will the OSCE dispatch its observation mission to Azerbaijan to monitor the by-elections on 13 May 2006?
Answer: The Azerbaijan statement at the OSCE Permanent Council on 02-02-2006 said that the invitation by the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan of the OSCE participating States to send their observers to the November 6 Parliamentary elections is valid for the May 13 rerun of elections. In accordance to this statement ODHIR is preparing an Election Monitoring Mission.