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Statements in International Organisations

08.06.2006

OSCE Permanent Council No. 612


EU statement in response to the report of the head of the OSCE office in Baku, Ambassador Maurizio Pavesi

  1. Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the European Union I would like to extend a warm welcome to Ambassador Maurizio Pavesi and to thank him for his comprehensive report.
  2. The EU appreciates the close co-operation of the Office with Azerbaijani authorities as well as its efforts to foster dialogue between government and opposition at a time characterized by Parliamentary elections, held on 6 November 2005, followed by reruns in ten constituencies, on May 13. Although the elections reflected improvements on previous ones, further reforms are still needed in order to ensure that the next elections will be held in full compliance with OSCE commitments. The EU therefore welcomes the Office’s activities related to the election process as well as its support to improvements in legislation.
  3. There can be no real democracy without free media. The EU attaches high importance to activities of the Office in this field in close cooperation with the Representative on Freedom of the Media and praises its efforts aimed at improving the legal environment and providing assistance to media and journalists. In this context, while welcoming the adoption of the Law to Obtain Information, the EU cannot but deplore the recent brutal attack on Mr. Bahaddin Khaziyev, Editor in Chief of an opposition newspaper and joins the Head of the Office in urging the Azerbaijani authorities to launch a prompt, transparent and thorough investigation into this incident.
  4. The EU also shares the emphasis put by the Office on strengthening rule of law, including reform of the judiciary and highlights the crucial importance of the trial monitoring program for developing the ongoing co-operation with the Azerbaijani authorities in improving the fair and efficient administration of justice. The EU praises the ongoing activities in the field of protection of human rights an supports the co-operation with the Expert Group on the reform of the pre-trial detention system and strongly encourages the Azerbaijani authorities to implement its recommendations.
  5. The EU also supports the continuing co-operation with the Constitutional Court and in particular its efforts in spreading the knowledge about specific requirements for constitutional complaints. The EU welcomes the adoption of the new Law on Trafficking in Human Beings and of amendments to the Criminal Code and applauds the impressive implementation activities of the National Action Plan conducted with the involvement of the Office. The Union is confident that the momentum will not be lost and that Azerbaijan will remain in the forefront of the fight against this scourge.
  6. The European Union underscores the importance of the Police Assistance Program and refers to the discussions in the ongoing Programme Outline.
  7. Moreover we express our high appreciation for the Office’s activities in the politico-military dimension, which have been the subject of a thorough presentation to the Forum for Security Co-operation and encourages the continuing Office’s involvement in the disposal of rocket fuel stocks as well as of scattered stocks of highly unstable munitions.
  8. Within the economic and environmental dimension, the Union applauds the contribution of the conference held in Baku on transport security to the overall success of the 14th Economic Forum and is grateful to the Office for having co-organized this important event. Furthermore, the EU firmly supports the Office’s involvement in diversification of Economy and Trade Development activities and continues to stress the fundamental role of entrepreneurial training for women in rural areas also in a gender perspective. In the same vein, the Union stresses the merit of the Office’s participation in the work of the Legislative Working Group on Anti-Corruption. In order to allow the country to liberalize its market and to encourage further economic development. Praiseworthy are also the activities aimed at involving local communities in the State Program on the Development of Alternative and Renewable Energy. Welcoming the ongoing support by the Office to the Aarhus Centre in Baku, the Union is in favor of the opening of a second Centre in Ganja. Finally, the EU would like to express its appreciation for the Office’s contribution to the OSCE/NATO South Caucasus River Monitoring Programme in particular through the upgrading of the Physical Environment Research Centre, Azeco Lab.
  9. The European Union again congratulates Ambassador Pavesi for his thorough report and wishes him as well as his dedicated staff continued success in their mission.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, EFTA country Norway, a member of the European Economic Area align themselves with this declaration.

 

*Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

 

Date: 08.06.2006