Trend Exclusive Interview with President of PACE, Rene van der Linden
- How do you assess the results of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly's (PACE) winter session (January 22-26)? Did the PACE winter session achieve the goals facing it?
- We had a very interesting session because we had high political debates. We had Prime Ministers from Greece and Belgium, as well as patriarchy from Constantinople.
Really we had discussions about the rights of the children, the situation in Armenia and gave back to the work of the Council of Europe. There was a lot of appreciation outside of the Council of Europe.
- During the PACE winter session, the members of the PACE Ad Hoc Committee for Nagorno-Karabakh (delegations from Azerbaijan and Armenia) reached an agreement on continuing the co-operation to find a solution to the conflict, as well as an initiative for mutual visits of members of both delegations to the region. How do you assess the process of the events?
- All members of Parliament and national parliaments being the members of the Council of Europe take an international responsibility to show their commitment to look and search for a peaceful solution of the conflict and at the meeting I expended to all members of the two delegations that it is a positive development and I am willing to go ahead in this way because they have the duty and responsibility to prepare their citizens in both countries for a peaceful solution and also to show their citizens to get on together. Their future and the future of Azerbaijan and Armenia are linked together because they want to create conditions for a better future for new generations. They have to solve this conflict in a peaceful way.
- During the discussions over the obligations of Armenia undertaken before the Council of Europe, the right of the Azerbaijani delegation to make speech was denied. What are your comments on that decision?
- We have never denied the right to speak. All men and women may take an initiative and speak on behalf of their political groups. We have a system to define the number of those who will speak and everybody has the right to take first place in the list. It gives a balance to the political groups. The number of those who will speak depends on the number of members of the political groups.
- How do you assess the level of Azerbaijan's fulfillment in its obligations undertaken before the Council of Europe? What spheres are in need of improvement?
- To my knowledge, two rapporteurs prepared a report on this issue, but yet it is in initial variant and will not be made publicly available. The report will reflect the situation with the press, as well as electoral legislation.
- Are you going to visit countries of South Caucasus?
- Such a visit is planned, but not for the short time, but I do not exclude such visit in the future.