Azerbaijan lays out priorities of CoE Committee of Ministers chairmanship

Baku, May 7 (AZERTAC). Azerbaijan has laid out the priorities of its chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe at the Council’s 124th session in Vienna.

The FM said: “Over the next six months, the country would render its strong support and invest its efforts around three key pillars of the Council of Europe - human rights, rule of law and democracy. He added: “Upholding and promoting core values of the Council of Europe will be at the center of all our activities and undertakings during this period.”

Mr. Mammadyarov said the country would obviously pay close attention to existing challenges to democracy, security and stability in Europe to ensure prompt and resolute response by Member States: “In doing so, the Chairmanship of Azerbaijan will seek consensual decisions in the spirit of compromise, through reinforced dialogue, mutual respect and understanding.”

“Enhanced co-operation in combating corruption would be one of the key priorities of Azerbaijani chairmanship.” “We will contribute to the efforts of the Council of Europe, which has also declared combating corruption as one of its priority tasks, by organizing a dedicated high-level conference in Baku in cooperation with the International Anti-Corruption Academy. This conference will provide an opportunity to exchange views on national experiences and best practices through highlighting the implementation of anti-corruption laws and ensuring preventive measures.”

The Minister said “the Chairmanship of Azerbaijan would also keep close tabs on the possible adoption of the Council of Europe Convention on the manipulation of sport competitions and we would extend our support also to soonest opening of this Convention to signature”. “As you are aware, Baku will host the first ever European Games in 2015 and this is another solid reason why we are promoting the adoption of this Convention during its chairmanship.”

“Mmanaging cultural diversity in constantly growing societies became one of the central topics in today’s Europe. Azerbaijan has historically been a place for the peaceful co-existence of followers of different religions and the issue of promotion of religious and cultural diversity has always been high on our agenda. During its Chairmanship Azerbaijan will contribute to combating discrimination and intolerance in Europe not least through highlighting the role of intercultural dialogue. We will be privileged to organize the 2014 Council of Europe annual exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue. We hope this meeting will reiterate the value and importance of the consolidation of culturally diverse societies based on mutual respect and understanding.”

“Azerbaijan considers social cohesion and social sustainability as an important element of any stable and prosperous society. Our efforts in this direction will seek to complement the Council of Europe's undertakings in ensuring everyone's access to social rights without any discrimination, with a special emphasis on vulnerable groups.” “Experiencing itself large-scale displacement due to Armenian occupation, Azerbaijan will undoubtedly pay close attention to the protection of human rights of internally displaced persons, a vulnerable segment of the population, within relevant activities of the Chairmanship. We are persuaded that this matter deserves to be vested a constant attention within the Council of Europe in the future, since millions of people in Europe of 21st century still suffer from this very unfortunate phenomenon.”

The Minister noted: “Our work will also focus on youth and education, two integral elements for building prosperous and stable societies. We will place particular emphasis on the importance of nurturing a generation of educated and responsible youth which, we all agree, comes through ensuring enhanced access of youth to their rights. Baku will host two important events under this priority line of action, namely the 4th regional ministerial meeting on the implementation of the European Higher Education Area and UN Global Forum on Youth Policy. UN Forum will benefit from the strong institutional support of the Council of Europe.”

Minister Mammadyarov noted that enhancing the effectiveness of the Convention system remained one of the key priorities of the Council of Europe.

“The Chairmanship of Azerbaijan would strive to contribute to the efforts of the Council of Europe in this field, through extending its support to the follow-up to the Declarations adopted in Interlaken, Izmir and Brighton.”

Mr. Mammadyarov added: “Special attention will be given to the effective implementation of the Convention at national level and to this end, a high-level conference on the role of national judges in enhancing the domestic application of the Convention will be held in Baku.”

“Upon the initiative of the Secretary General, the Council of Europe embarked on ambitious political reforms which would receive our strong and unequivocal support during this tenure.”

The Azerbaijani FM said the Chairmanship of Azerbaijan would also support the further strengthening of co-operation with other international organizations, most notably the European Union, the OSCE and the United Nations.

“Azerbaijan has been following closely the progress of the Council of Europe policy towards neighbouring regions. Since it was launched in Istanbul in 2011, considerable progress has been achieved in deepening of engagement with several countries of the neighboring regions through strengthened political dialogue and agreements over cooperation priorities. As a country located at the crossroads of the continents and enjoying historic ties and strong bilateral relations with these countries, Azerbaijan will continue paying close attention to the development of this policy. The Chairmanship of Azerbaijan intends to support the Council of Europe's efforts in this area through organizing high-level Ministerial conference devoted to the neighborhood policy of the Council of Europe in Baku in September 2014. The conference could provide a valuable forum for exploring the avenues for possible long term engagement of the Council of Europe, taking full account of the recent debates within the Committee of Ministers on possibilities of more institutionalized ties with some countries of the neighborhood. Last but not least, the event could look at the possibilities whether the intercultural dialogue related activities could bring an added value to overall objectives pursued by the policy.”

The Minister said that during its chairmanship Azerbaijan would act in close and regular contacts with forthcoming Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina chairmanships, with the goal of ensuring continuity and coherence of our activities through advancement of shared priorities in a coordinated fashion.

Mr. Mammadyarov noted that throughout “this important period the Azerbaijani Chairmanship would work in close coordination with the Secretary General, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and other institutions to ensure smooth and productive running of the Chairmanship.”

“We will strive to display maximum level of openness and willingness to reach our common goals and objectives and we will count on your strong support in this important and vital endeavor. 18 events will be held in Azerbaijan over the next 6 months and I extend our kind invitation to you and your colleagues to visit our country during this period,” the FM concluded.


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