AS (2014) CR 19
2014 ORDINARY SESSION
Monday 23 June 2014 at 11.30 a.m.
The following texts were submitted for inclusion in the official report by members who were present in the Chamber but were prevented by lack of time from delivering them.
Mr HUSEYNOV (Azerbaijan) – The recent meetings of the Bureau and Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe were held in Baku. While those seem like ordinary events, both those developments and my seeing the Azerbaijani flag at the top of the Council of Europe’s official website every day are of particular importance to me: they are important signs of the progress of our independence and prosperity. When we joined the Council of Europe 13 years ago, Azerbaijan was in its 13th year of independence. Today, everyone can plainly see the considerable progress that has been made in the political, economic and cultural life of our nation over the past few years. The Council of Europe, as a school of democracy, has played an irreplaceable part in this progress.
Azerbaijan is also eternally grateful to the Council of Europe, this respected international Organisation, for having adopted a separate text and for having been among the first to react sensibly to the most important problem of my nation. That document, the positive result of a fair and objective attitude, is Resolution 1416 on the Nagorno-Karabakh problem and the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, which was approved in the Assembly on 25 January 2005. The resolution unambiguously recognises the internationally acknowledged territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and notes the occupation of the territories of that State by a neighbouring one. Safeguarding independence, territorial integrity and borders are issues of honour for every country, including Azerbaijan.
France is a country I feel at home in, Paris being my favourite city. My first visit to this lovely country took place 20 years ago and I have been at least a hundred times over the past few years. On each of my visits, my passport was taken, reviewed and stamped. This was normal procedure, because I was crossing the border, and the border is a line of honour for each country. Regardless of my possession of both diplomatic and Council of Europe passports, if I violate the border regime of any of the more than 40 member States here through illegally entering those countries’ territories, I would undoubtedly suffer official sanctions, and no one would imagine punishing the country in question for carrying out what would be considered a legitimate act. However, it is a pity that, in reality, in some cases we encounter paradoxes.
As an independent State, Azerbaijan has a special list of visitors to its occupied territories who enter from the territory of a State that has violated the laws of our country and disrespected our State and nation. Consequently, our Ministry for Foreign Affairs puts restrictions on their trips to our country. This is as it should be and is valid not just for selected individuals, but for anyone who breaks the law in the same way. Azerbaijan acts in line with its legislation, which perceives anyone violating its border regime as an intruder, and takes the required measures against such intruders, irrespective of their social status.
If this misdeed was openly perpetrated by a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe who is aware of the laws, our Organisation, as a guarantor of the supremacy of law, should not be indifferent but should accuse such intruders. But what happened in this case? The Council of Europe, which acts as a fair jury when it comes to taking legally correct measures against those who blatantly breach the law, defends the offender. Where is the logic here? The Council of Europe is valuable for Azerbaijan but our independence, our laws and the inviolability of our territorial integrity are even more valuable. Therefore, I consider the decision taken in consequence by the Bureau at its Baku meeting a misdeed committed by the Council of Europe. That decision is incompatible with the core principles of this Organisation. It is pitiful that an Organisation that wishes to be fair has taken such an unjust and non-objective stance. Let us be careful, because history will judge!
Mr WOLD (Norway) – Sometimes in our lives we have to stop and think about what is right and what is wrong. Sometimes we have to make a choice to improve our lives, our society and our democracy. Sometimes we have to stand up for what we believe in and fight for our children’s future to give them hope and prosperity, and an opportunity to believe that better days are to come. That was just what happened in Ukraine on Sunday 25 May.
I had the pleasure of being a short-term observer in Kiev and felt that the elections were conducted in the best way possible. It has to be said that, in future, local and national elections should not take place at the same time, and commission members should be better trained in electoral procedures and organisation. That would also make the elections more efficient. In Kiev in particular, they experienced long delays and procedural problems throughout election day due to parallel local and national elections and the inadequate training of commission members.
The proud people of Ukraine showed up at the polling stations from early in the morning, and although the heat was a challenge, both old and young waited in line for two to three hours to give their vote for a better future. That shows how important it was for the people of Ukraine to take part in the election, the result of which clearly represents the undoubted will of the Ukrainian voters. These elections will bring back the democratic tradition of elections to Ukraine. Ukrainians clearly opted for integration and a European policy. That was the clear message voiced by the Ukrainian people. There can be no doubts as to the legitimacy of the election; not even the problems in Luhansk and Donetsk could disqualify the results.
It has been confirmed that the Ukrainian presidential election was free, fair and in accordance with international standards. With the exception of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the elections proceeded without any major violations and are legitimate and reflect the will of the Ukrainian people. Campaigning was free and fair, and vote tabulation was transparent. I also think that it was a benefit for the nation that the election was settled in the first round, both to confirm the result and the winner, but also to save time and money on a second election round.
There is now no doubt that Ukraine is looking to countries in Europe as its co-operating partners in future years. We, the nations of Europe, must include and co-operate with Ukraine, a country at the very beginning of its life as a democratic nation, based upon good values and with a sincere hope to create a bright future.
Last week, President Petro Poroshenko succeeded in establishing a ceasefire with the rebels in the eastern part of the country. It will help to stop the riots which have been going on now for about 10 weeks. I am sure I speak for everyone in this Assembly when I underline a great wish that the president’s efforts to do so succeed. Congratulations are in order for Ukraine, the new president and the people of a country seeking to be a part of modern western society.