Trend exclusive interview with Azerbaijan Special Representative at the UN, Agshin Mehdiyev
Question: 2007 has already come. How can this year be remarkable and special for UN? Several months have passed since your appointment and perhaps you defined the program on further development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and UN?
Answer: Every year is actually special and original. With respect to 2007, it will be undoubtedly an unordinary and remarkable year in the UN history. There are some reasons for it. 1 January New Secretary General, Pan Ki-Moon headed the UN. Obviously, it promises definite staff and administrative changes. I expect the Secretary General to carry out definite reforms amid the active debates on the necessity of reforming UN.
The next milestone is linked with the rotation of Security Council members. Some changes occurred in the composition of the UN Security Council in 2007 and Belgium, Italy, Indonesia, Panama and South Africa have become its permanent members. Each of these countries has own interests and specifics and undoubtedly their activities at the Security Council, will reflect them. For instance, hence the number of the Movement on non-joining to the Security Council rose from 4 to 7, which means their number is enough to block any decision by Security Council, if necessary.
Anther more interesting example can be Indonesia, a biggest Muslim country, which will considerably reflect the interests of this group of countries. I should add that there are too many acute issues, including the situation in the Near East, the situation with Iran nuclear program and North Korea, Somali and other crisis situation in Africa are on the agenda of UN, including the General Assembly and Security Council.
With respect to Azerbaijan and its activities at the UN, I should say that the country will take into consideration the said changes in our activities and try to benefit them in own interests. Now we expect UN to spread an OSCE report, developed in accordance with the General Assembly Resolution on the state in the occupied Azerbaijan areas. Then we will begin work over the implementation of practical recommendations set by the report.
The next issue is related to a work over the resolution on the item of an agenda proposed to GUAM. The draft resolution will be shortly disseminated at the UN and active consultations for its coordination will be launched. Depending on the further developments the GUAM countries will adopt a resolution on the date of relevant discussions. Regardless of any fact, the issue remains in the agenda of the UN General Assembly.
There are too many issues that we are currently processing. These are different programs within the framework of Azerbaijan's cooperation with UNDP and different UNDP divisions, participation in numerous UN events in New-York and otter places. Particularly, at the end of January New York will host discussions over the 2nd and 3rd combined report on the situation with contradicting woman discrimination Azerbaijan. A well-represented Azerbaijani delegation is expected to visit the United States in this respect. Moreover, an important conference on information technologies will be held in California in February and Azerbaijani delegates will be in attendance. So, the year promises to be rich enough and we hope to cope with all tasks set for us.
Question: You reminded of a program on cooperation between Azerbaijan and UN. Could you detail on the programs and their field of coverage?
Answer: There are too many programs and it would be hardly expedient to mention all of them. Different programs on cooperation are carried out jointly with UNDP (UN Development Program, UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees), UNICEF (UN Children's Fund) and others. For instance, the total budget of programs, both adopted and to be adopted, in 2007 will comprise some $10mln. I think, even one figure is enough to present general scales of our cooperation with UN.
Question: When GUAM countries are going to raise an issue on lingering conflicts?
Answer: Unfortunately, I cannot give you unilateral reply, because a resolution tin this respect will be adopted depending on the further developments and the consultations with other UN member-states. The issue will be put for discussion only when we will be sure in having all necessary conditions to achieve the results that we need.
Question: Does Armenia take any effort to oppose it?
Answer: As far as I know they do and quite actively. Initially, the Armenian delegation together with others was against injection of an issue on lingering conflicts in GUAM territory the agenda of the 61st UN General Assembly and respectively voted against it. However, after the inclusion of an issue in the agenda, we have information that now the Armenians try to utilize all resources, including the Diaspora, to influence on the further discussions. Local Armenian organizations try to impact on all, who can be beneficial in this issue.
Question: Russian Representation at UN, which voted against injection of an issue on lingering conflicts in the territory of GUAM in agenda of the UN General Assembly 61st session, spread a joint Memorandum on non-recognized regimes stating the necessity of their participation in the talks. What was the UN reply to the appeal?
Answer: No reply. All the territories belong to Georgia and Moldova. Therefore, their memorandums' or appeals are not regarded seriously and no reply is provided. As to the issue of such a paper by a representation of a country, that has nothing to do with these conflicts, I think there is no any need for commentary.