Only EU can Create Trustful Atmosphere between Nagorno-Karabakh Communities – Special Representative

Politics Materials 5 September 2007 17:26 (UTC +04:00)

Belgium, Brussels / Тrend corr A. Maharramli / Trend's interview with EU Special Representative to South Caucasus, Peter Semneby.

Question: A conference intended to deepen relations and improve bonds between the European Union (EU) and its neighbours took place in Brussels on 3 September. For the first time not only ministerial delegations but also representatives of civil society were invited to participate in the conference. How important is the participation of civil society in the implementation of the Action Plan within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy signed in November of 2006?

Answer: I believe this conference is a very important stage for all participating countries. I am glad to see all three South Caucasus countries were represented at the event by ministers. This shows that the South Caucasus countries attach a special importance to the Action Plan within the framework of the Neighbourhood Policy. Fulfilment of the obligations proceeding from the Action Plan is very important, especially those regarding democratic institutions, human rights, and freedom of the press. Those are fundamental tasks for establishing close and trusting relationships between the EU countries.

Question: How much, in your opinion, has Azerbaijan's desire to integrate into European organizations increased?

Answer: If the Azerbaijani population supports the integration of European institutions, so I too agree with this progress. Azerbaijani people understand the importance of strategic bonds with the EU. Cooperation with Europe in reforms, as well as in the energy sector, is very important.

Question: What problems do you see in the process of Azerbaijan's integration into Europe?

Answer:Human rights and the obligations I mentioned above will impact cooperation with the EU. I hope Azerbaijan will fulfil them more carefully and seriously. That will positively affect the cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU.

The recommendations on political reforms and in the legal field are clear. We try to help. That is an attempt to establish tight relationships between Azerbaijan and the EU. For the time being I cannot make conclusions. We have to wait for the first report on fulfilment of the obligations proceeding from the Action Plan of the European Commission. We pay a great importance to these issues. Several weeks ago I visited Azerbaijan, where the media situation was being widely discussed. Other European organizations - OSCE, CE - also deal with these issues.

We understand that transformation for Azerbaijan, a country which was previously under a totalitarian regime, is a very difficult process. But it is necessary for Azerbaijan to do all the best to progress in this field.

Question: Do you agree with the viewpoint that the EU should play a more important role in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

Answer: I do not want to speak of the further work ahead. I can only say that we support and respect the initiative of the OSCE Minsk Group. The EU's actions will be intended for supporting the continuation of the OSCE Minsk Group's work. We can do a lot in the creation of a trustful atmosphere and the establishment of bonds between the communities of Nagorno-Karabakh. Only we have this opportunity, for we develop the strategic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Armenia.