Statement on the OSCE Office in Baku

As delivered by Political Counselor Christopher Robinson
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
March 14, 2013

We note the request by the Government of Azerbaijan to change the mandate of the OSCE Office in Baku.

The current mandate of the Office in Baku, which was renewed at the beginning of 2013, charges it to “promote the implementation of OSCE principles and commitments… in all OSCE dimensions, including the human, political, economic and environmental aspects of security and stability.”

The OSCE Office in Baku performs critical capacity-building and assistance tasks in Azerbaijan.  We agree that important progress has been made, but also believe that this mission and mandate continue to play an important role in helping Azerbaijan to develop its democratic institutions.

Moreover, reporting on political events and human rights conditions serves as a crucial early warning mechanism, and contributes to the OSCE’s role of conflict prevention and resolution.  Timely reporting provides prompt insight on possible escalation of tensions in already tense regions.  The United States believes that such timely reporting is vital in promoting security and stability, and in shaping OSCE assistance to Azerbaijan in the implementation of its commitments.

We believe it is in the best interest of the Government of Azerbaijan to continue in good faith and respect the terms of the agreed mandate.

The United States values its close cooperation with the Government of Azerbaijan in helping to build a strong democracy supported by a vibrant civil society.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.