RIA Novosti, Russia
April 7 2004
COUNCIL OF EUROPE CHIEF TO DISCUSS AZERBAIJAN’S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD
WITH OFFICIALS IN BAKU
BAKU, APRIL 7, 2004, (RIA NOVOSTI – Walter Schwimmer,
Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, has arrived in the Azeri
capital of Baku for a two-day visit. Here, he will meet with senior
government officials to discuss the implementation by Azerbaijan of
the obligations it assumed prior to its CoE accession.
Speaking to reporters about the issue of political prisoners in
Azerbaijan, Mr. Schwimmer described as an “important step” President
Ilkham Aliyev’s March decree granting pardon to 129 convicts. He also
pointed out that Council of Europe observers would be closely
watching the trials of participants in the disturbances of October 15
and 16, following presidential elections in the republic.
Mr. Schwimmer is scheduled to meet with President Aliyev, Parliament
Speaker Murtuz Aleskerov, Cabinet ministers, leaders of the
Opposition, activists of public organizations, and CoE member
nations’ ambassadors to Azerbaijan.
At his forthcoming Baku meetings, the Council of Europe
Secretary-General will discuss, among other things, the development
of cooperation between Azerbaijan and European countries and the
settlement of disputes, notably the Azeri-Armenian conflict over the
Nagorny Karabakh region (the OSCE has long been mediating in the
conflict, but without much effect).
Mr. Schwimmer is expected to appear before the students and the
faculty of the University of Baku, as well as to attend the
ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Council of Europe’s new information
office in Baku. He will also present here the Azeri version of his
book “Der Traum Europa” (“The Dream of Europe”).