Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov presented priorities of the Chairmanship of the Republic of Azerbaijan of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe at the 124th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Vienna.
The Azerbaijani FM said that it is indeed a great privilege for the Republic of Azerbaijan to assume, for the first time since becoming a member of the Council of Europe in January 2001, the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, the press-service of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry told Trend.
"Over the next six months, my country will render its strong support and invest its efforts around three key pillars of the Council of Europe - human rights, rule of law and democracy. Upholding and promoting core values of the Council of Europe will be at the center of all our activities and undertakings during this period," he said.
The Azerbaijani FM noted that Azerbaijan will 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."
Mammadyarov said that enhanced co-operation in combating corruption will 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."
The Chairmanship of Azerbaijan will also keep close tabs on the possible adoption of the Council of Europe Convention on the manipulation of sport competitions, according to the minister. "We will 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."
Azerbaijani FM also highlighted that 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 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," Mammadyarov said.
Enhancing the effectiveness of the Convention system remains one of the key priorities of the Council of Europe, according to the Azerbaijani FM. "The Chairmanship of Azerbaijan will 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. 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."
Mammadyarov said that , upon the initiative of the Secretary General, the Council of Europe has embarked on ambitious political reforms which will receive Azerbaijan`s strong and unequivocal support during this tenure. "The Chairmanship of Azerbaijan will also support the further strengthening of co-operation with other international organizations, most notably the European Union, the OSCE and the United Nations."
Azerbaijan will continue paying close attention to the development of neighborhood policy, the Azerbaijani FM said.
"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. During our chairmanship we will 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," he said.
Throughout this important period the Azerbaijani Chairmanship will 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, according to the Azerbaijani FM.
Eighteen events will be held in Azerbaijan over the next 6 months, the minister said.