AS (2018) CR 11
2018 ORDINARY SESSION
Monday 23 April 2018 at 3 p.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 R HUSEYNOV (Azerbaijan) – There is no such thing as a communal sorrowful or a communal happy day or month. However, in the history and destiny of every nation, there are days, months and years which bear special symbolic meaning because the events that took place on those days relate to the destiny of the whole nation. It will soon be May, and my country proclaimed its independence on the 28th of that month exactly 100 years ago, having established the first republic in the Muslim East. Unfortunately, we have been able to live independently for only 29 of those 100 years. We lost the independence we had acquired in 1918 two years later, in April 1920, due to foreign military and political intervention. Living within the Soviet regime for 70 years, we longed for our lost independence. Therefore, today, we highly value this independence and try to protect it from every danger. The dangers and threats are still ongoing and it is amazing that such threats originate not only from the traditional potential enemies of our independence, but that some of these blows to our independence are directed against us from behind the curtain of pseudo-democracy.
Within 27 years of its State independence being restored, Azerbaijan has succeeded in becoming a leading State in the South Caucasus region, thus gaining keynote speech status in several energy and transport projects of regional and European importance. It is extremely difficult for a small country like Azerbaijan to stay independent without falling under the influence of some great political power and foreign State while pursuing a fully independent policy. It should also be taken into account that 20% of Azerbaijan's territories are under the occupation of neighbouring Armenia.
Azerbaijan, which is today preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its independence, needs much support as a young democracy. Nonetheless, much anxiety is generated by that fact that, in some cases, pressure, artificial barriers, unfair criticisms and attacks emerge from the place that is expected to render support. If double standards become the core principle of functioning in prominent institutions, such as the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the European Parliament, this becomes a source of danger for democracy, the independence of various countries and the future existence of these organisations.
Today, there is a greater need than ever to protect democracy from fake democrats. Let us advance hand in hand, unanimous and together, so that these evil elements and the black forces cannot weaken us.
Mr VOVK (Ukraine) – One of the hard-won, fundamental European values laid in the foundation of the Council of Europe is the ideal of “peace through law”. The Council of Europe’s mission to prevent wars is based on upholding the rule of law, and on respecting international agreements and legal order.
We Ukrainians emphasise a simple truth: "pacta sunt servanda" – "agreements must be kept". This principle of international law covers all international rules-based agreements, including the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, Ukraine inherited the world's third largest nuclear arsenal, including some 2 000 strategic nuclear warheads, which was two and a half times larger than the nuclear arsenal of the United Kingdom, France and China combined. Ukraine voluntarily agreed to give up its nuclear arms in exchange for international guarantees of its security and territorial integrity. There is no doubt that Ukraine has delivered on its commitments on nuclear disarmament fully and in good faith.
The Budapest Memorandum has indisputably an internationally legal and binding character, and contains commitments given in exchange for nuclear disarmament by Ukraine. The Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, including the illegal annexation of Crimea, undermines the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, and prompts other States to view nuclear weapons as a legitimate means of deterrence against aggression. How can Europe ignore this fundamental international legal document that deals with the single most significant aspect of the world’s collective security – the principle of nuclear non-proliferation? What kind of destructive signal does it send to the whole world, in particular to North Korea and Iran?I believe that defending democratic security in Europe requires the Council of Europe, along with the Organization on Security and Co-operation in Europe, to finally face the challenge of the Russian Federation’s blatant violation of the international agreements in the sphere of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. If the international community, including our Organisation, does not stand firmly by the Budapest Memorandum, it will be a step towards the further collapse of the rule of international law. This respected Organisation must work to maintain international peace and order. Forgiveness of Russian sins in exchange for Russian money will put an end to the Council of Europe as a value-based Organisation.