BAKU: OSCE Envoy Speaks About Karabakh, Election In Azeri Capital


Turan news agency
July 30 2008

Baku, 30 July: "My current visit to Azerbaijan pursues two ends –
to familiarize myself with the state of affairs around the Nagornyy
Karabakh settlement and preparations for the [15 October] presidential
election," the special envoy of the OSCE chairman-in-office, Heikki
Talvitie, has told a news conference.

Touching on the first issue, the diplomat expressed his satisfaction
with the ongoing talks between the leaderships of the two countries.

"The foreign ministers of the two countries will meet in Moscow on 31
July and I will be attending the meeting," Talvitie said. He expressed
confidence that after the presidential election, those talks would
become more intense. As far as the resolution of the conflict is
concerned, then it should be settled in view of two principles –
territorial integrity and peoples’ right to self-determination.

"When we speak about people’s right to self-determination, then we
take into account granting Karabakh the highest status," Talvitie
said. Touching on the forthcoming presidential election in Azerbaijan,
the special envoy said that the OSCE monitoring mission would be in
Azerbaijan ahead and after the election.

"We do not hold an election, we just assess it. It is very important
to ensure that the election is democratic. The issue of ensuring
freedom of assembly was discussed at the meetings with the Baku mayor
and the head of the Baku City Main Police Department. Talks between
the authorities and the opposition about choosing a venue for staging
actions will be held through the mediation of the OSCE representative
in Baku, Jose Luis Ferrero," Talvitie said.

Asked about his assessment of the situation in the run-up to the
election, Talvitie declined to answer directly and repeated that he
had discussed a number of issues with the mayor and the head of the
city police. Meanwhile, he outlined the importance of maintaining
regulations of the election law. As for the opposition boycott of
the presidential election, Talvitie said that he regarded the case
"negatively". Asked about the plight of convicted journalists,
Talvitie declined to speak about this in detail as he did not know
the details of the convicted journalists’ cases.

Talvitie also declined to answer specifically while asked about
prospects of the Karabakh settlement. At the same time, he said that
Aland Islands were a good example of resolving territorial conflicts.