Reply to Azerbaijan on ODIHR and the 2016 Unified Budget Proposal: Statement to the PC

Because our distinguished colleague from Azerbaijan alleged that we have collectively failed to respond to Azerbaijan’s allegations against Director Link, I wanted to take a moment to answer that allegation.

First, I agree with our distinguished Azerbaijani colleague that ODIHR’s cancellation of observation efforts for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan is regrettable. But it’s important for everybody around this table to recall that ODIHR’s cancellation was forced by the government of Azerbaijan, which – in contradiction to Azerbaijan’s commitments to each of our governments – placed limitations on ODIHR’s observation. This is regrettable; colleagues will remember seeing the circulation of the note verbale that explicitly laid out these limitations, in contradiction to Azerbaijan’s commitments to all of us, to invite ODIHR to observe.

Second point: I agree with the distinguished Azerbaijani ambassador that it is a shame that Azerbaijan’s actions have resulted in the lack of OSCE observation of the upcoming parliamentary elections. Not least because the actions of the government of Azerbaijan have deprived its citizens of the confidence that ODIHR and OSCEPA observation can bring in the context of elections.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

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