Response to Azerbaijan on OSCE Election Observation Commitments: Statement to the PC

We regret that ODIHR will not be observing parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan on November 1.

In a September 1 press statement, Azerbaijan called ODIHR’s intention to deploy 30 long-term and 300 short-term observers “excessive” for Azerbaijan’s November 1 parliamentary election.

The statement said that Azerbaijan was “ready to welcome” only six long-term and up to 125 short-term observers.

This is incompatible with Azerbaijan’s commitment to recognize ODIHR’s independence in carrying out election observation.

We regret that ODIHR was compelled to cancel its election observation mission to Azerbaijan because of the government’s insistence on limiting the number of observers, but we support ODIHR’s decision and reaffirm the independence of this key OSCE institution.

Participating States reaffirmed in Brussels in 2006 “the commitments of the participating States to invite observers to elections from other participating States, the ODIHR, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and appropriate institutions and organizations that wish to observe.” In the same decision, participating States agreed to “give utmost attention to the independence, impartiality, and professionalism of ODIHR’s election observation.”

We hope that Azerbaijan will, in the OSCE’s spirit of dialogue among participating States, reconsider its position and immediately offer an unrestricted invitation for ODIHR and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to observe its November 1 parliamentary elections.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

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