BAKU: Armenia Dragging Out Reply – Belgian Deputy

Leyla Tagiyeva News.Az
May 31 2010

Paul Wille News.Az interviews Paul Wille, member of the Belgian
parliament and chairman of the PACE committee on economic issues.

Do you think that the upcoming parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan
will be better than previous ones?

The free and transparent elections that are a target for any
member-state of the Council of Europe are a dynamic process. I think
Azerbaijan will achieve a significant progress this time. I do not
approve the actions of the Venice Commission that has given its
recommendations before their coordination with authorities and public.

They could not have acted like this, I think the actions of the Venice
commission do not deserve approval. I still hope that the decisions
allowing to hold well organized elections will be adopted at the
preliminary stage.

Official Baku condemns the CE stating the presence of political
prisoners in Azerbaijan of the biased attitude to the country. Do
you think the discriminative approach is really applied here?

Discrimination is possible, but on the other hand possible problems
in the election process cannot be perceived doubly as applied to
Azerbaijan and other countries. Thus, double standards undermine
trust to the CE institutions. I was one of those who have sharply
criticized such a biased attitude of some people. No one can make me
say what I have never seen by my own eyes. Especially if what I saw
during the election process was normal. I am not here to reform the
country. I am here just to observe elections and that is all.

As is known, Azerbaijan is a Muslim State. Is it correct to inflict
all values common for Christian Europe on such a country with its
specific features?

Azerbaijan is a secular country where most people practice Islam.

Religion has never been a hindrance for country’s development and it
is necessary to respect feelings. I think there must not be problems
in the country where interregional dialogue is developing.

You often visit Azerbaijan which is called a bridge between East and
West. Do you think Azerbaijan has more of east or west?

Your question can be related to what took place in the Balkans in the
past, when people spared no effort to demonstrate a difference between
the Balkan states. The slogan of the future must be “What unites us”,
rather than “What separates us”. Therefore, I would not say that
Azerbaijanis are more eastern or western people compared to others.

Azerbaijan is a member of the Council of Europea which means that you
are ready to accept criteria meeting the spirit of this organization.

I think this is a very good choice in terms of protection of human
rights, provision and legality and combat with corruption. The
ongoing events prove that Azerbaijan is a modern state regardless of
its inclination.

Do you think that the international community, in particular, Council
of Europe, is well familiar with the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict
over Karabakh?

There are several international organizations that have taken a clear
position on Karabakh. The negotiations within the framework of the
Minsk Group have shown that Azerbaijan has accepted the proposals
that are also approved by a greater part of the world community and we
expect response from Armenia. Occupation has delayed because Armenia
is dragging out the response. We may only hope that the common sense
will prevail.

I assure you that the world community, at least the Council of Europe,
are quite well informed about the situation around Karabakh and we
would really like to see the development of the situation with this
problem, since its solution will promote development and prosperity
of the entire South Caucasus.

From: A. Papazian

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