Reply to Azerbaijan on the reports by the Turkic Council and TURKPA: Statement to the PC

I just want to respond to a few things. First of all, I agree with the position that this should be an open forum where we should engage with a variety of speakers.  We depend on the chairmanship to make sure that speakers to the Permanent Council are speakers who can contribute to our general debate and appreciate the spirit of openness. In general, that openness should characterize our work, and I think we have more progress to make in terms of making our engagement and our dialogue more open and more transparent for the world to see.

The second point, just to clarify: I was adding to what had already been said by the Secretary General of TURKPA in terms of the way the Games had highlighted the history of Azerbaijan.  I was making a reference to the thrust of our statement which is that we have concerns about media freedom and independent journalists – not only in Azerbaijan, but in other states that are participating States of the OSCE, as well member states of the organizations represented today. So it was more to emphasize the general thrust of my statement.

And finally, just to reassure the distinguished Ambassador of Azerbaijan, Ambassador Cekuta and I have worked together for many years, including before I came to this job. We‘ve been negotiating partners together, and I can assure you that we see completely eye to eye, both in our affection for the Azerbaijani people, and our inspiration at the number of Azerbaijani people who see and want a European-style future, as well as in our concerns about certain actions that may be limiting their progress toward that future. So we, as well as the rest of the State Department, have a common view on that.

Thank you.

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