Replies to Azerbaijan on the closure of the Project Coordinator’s Office in Baku: Statement to the PC

I just wanted to respond to a couple of the comments made by the distinguished Azerbaijani ambassador.

First is a point that applies not only to this meeting but to a number of the meetings that we have. Obviously our organization has a decision-making principle of consensus which governs almost all of our decisions, which makes voting or a breakdown of supporters, in a way, irrelevant. But it is true that one can get a sense of where the room is, and where the large majority of participating States are. And I just would remark that the division that the ambassador of Azerbaijan referred to – one could have understood his comments as suggesting that there was a clear emergence of two sides with relatively equal support. In fact we had 28 countries of the EU plus three additional States that affiliated itself with that statement with presumably more to follow, Canada, the U.S., Turkey expressing regret that this was happening, so there was a large number of States that expressed their strong support for an ongoing presence in Baku.

There were two that came out clearly supporting the government of Azerbaijan’s contention that it no longer needs the services of the OSCE; and the two States that spoke on that don’t have a great track record of implementation of OSCE commitments themselves. So it’s worth taking that under consideration.

I think the point remains that one of the ways a government can demonstrate good faith in making progress is through ongoing engagement with a field presence. And we see an ongoing opportunity for the government of Azerbaijan to continue to work towards reversing what many see as a worrying trend in Azerbaijan, and work towards making progress on implementation of OSCE commitments.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.


I too forgot something in my reply.

I meant to say what our Norwegian colleague said, with respect to sovereignty: I did not hear in the statements of the EU, Canada, and certainly not in my own delegation’s, any dispute with the principle of respect for sovereignty and certainly that principle is one, as the Kazakh ambassador said, that continues to govern and apply to all of our governments and to the relations between them. But there is not any inconsistency between adherence to that principle and the arguments put forward by my delegation as well as a number of others. And we have all made a commitment not only to that principle of sovereignty, but also to a number of others. And one of the concerns that we have is that we have learned…rather we have been shown time and time again–(it’s a question whether we’ve actually learned it since we continue to make similar mistakes)–but we have been shown that when we disregard or ignore the lack of adherence for OSCE principles and commitments across all three dimensions, it leads – as the creators of the OSCE predicted – to security concerns that cost human lives and human happiness.

And our motivation in expressing ongoing support, not only for the Project Coordinator’s Office in Baku, but also for continued progress on implementation of all OSCE commitments in all OSCE participating States, including our own, is that we know that only through continued progress in implementing these commitments can we make the kinds of challenges to comprehensive security that are so costly in terms of human lives and human happiness less likely to occur.

Thank you.


As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the OSCE Permanent Council, Vienna