PACE co-rapporteurs on Armenia concerned by reports of alleged war crimes or inhuman treatment perpetrated by Azerbaijan’s armed forces
STRASBOURG. "We are concerned by the numerous reports of alleged war crimes or inhuman treatment perpetrated by the armed forces of Azerbaijan”, said Kimmo Kiljunen (Finland, SOC) and Boriana Åberg (Sweden, EPP/CD), co-rapporteurs of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) for the monitoring of Armenia's obligations and commitments.
“We note that the Military Prosecutor's Office of Azerbaijan has decided to investigate the facts and hope that these investigations will be public and transparent. While both sides blame each other for the resumption of hostilities, Azerbaijani armed forces are occupying Armenian territory in violation of Armenia's territorial sovereignty and Azerbaijan’s obligation under the Statute of the Council of Europe to settle conflicts by peaceful means,” the co-rapporteurs added.
“We therefore call upon the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately withdraw from all parts of the territory of Armenia and to release the prisoners of war under their control. Only diplomatic means will bring a just and lasting response to the conflict that will benefit the populations of both states," they concluded.
SHALVA PAPUASHVILI: PRESIDENTS EDUARD SHEVARDNADZE AND HEYDAR ALIYEV, ALONG WITH TURKISH LEADERS, ACHIEVED REMARKABLE FEATS BY ESTABLISHING FAR-SIGHTED PROJECTS THAT REVITALIZED THE ANCIENT TRADE ROUTES
"I am happy to celebrate a historically important date for the Republic of Azerbaijan - Independence Day and Armed Forces Day with you", – the Speaker, H.E. Shalva Papuashvili stated at the reception dedicated to the 105th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
As Shalva Papuashvili pointed out, Georgia and Azerbaijan are connected by a strong friendship and good neighborly relations.
According to him, the friendship between the countries was based on the long historical ties and the difficult path that Georgia and Azerbaijan went through after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"The simultaneous declaration of independence by our countries holds great historical significance, and it is remarkable that our ancestors celebrated the restoration of statehood at the same time 105 years ago. The strong friendship and good neighborly relations between Georgia and Azerbaijan are deeply rooted in our shared history and the challenging journeys we have undertaken to establish strong and independent states after the collapse of the Soviet Union. For the Georgian people, Azerbaijan is not just a neighbor but a close friend with whom we share profound mutual respect and cultural ties. Our relationship extends beyond strategic, political, and economic aspects, encompassing the deep connections between our peoples. The fruitful cooperation between our countries has evolved into a strategic partnership, yielding numerous positive outcomes for both nations. Dynamic cooperation in areas such as trade, economy, culture, and defense has further strengthened our bilateral relations", - Shalva Papuashvili noted.
According to him, the regional energy and transport projects of international importance started three decades ago, and brought the two states closer economically and politically.
"Presidents Eduard Shevardnadze and Heydar Aliyev, along with Turkish leaders, achieved remarkable feats by establishing far-sighted projects that revitalized the ancient trade routes. These initiatives have become a vital link between Europe and Asia, contributing to regional connectivity and economic development. However, at that time, some in the West underestimated the strategic importance of the Middle Corridor and the potential threats from Russia. Nevertheless, the wisdom and foresight of our region's people have been validated over time. Today, as the significance of the Middle Corridor continues to grow, our cooperation becomes even more relevant. We are prepared to work together on joint projects to enhance energy transportation routes and promote economic prosperity. I am pleased to see the successful development of parliamentary relations between our countries. In recent years, we have hosted each other's parliamentary leaders, fostering mutual understanding and collaboration. During my recent official visit to Azerbaijan, I had the honor of participating in events commemorating the 100th anniversary of President Heydar Aliyev's birth. This occasion highlighted the tremendous progress achieved by Azerbaijan, which has been further strengthened under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev", - Shalva Papuashvili added.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili meets Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili met today in Baku with Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.At the face-to-face meeting, the parties discussed the productive cooperation between the two countries across a variety of areas, also issues pertaining to regional security.The conversation focused on the seminal Black Sea submarine electricity cable project connecting the Caucasus Region and Europe. Irakli Garibashvili and Ilham Aliyev discussed the dynamic of the project’s implementation and relevant plans for the future.The key directions of the intensive trade and economic cooperation between Georgia and the Republic of Azerbaijan were also discussed.Irakli Garibashvili and Ilham Aliyev spoke about the regional and global security environment and challenges. The importance of peace and stability in the region for ensuring economic development was underlined. Irakli Garibashvili assured Ilham Aliyev of Georgia’s commitment to continuing its contribution toward ensuring peace and stability in the region.Press Service of the Government Administration
Prime Minister of Georgia meets Co-Rapporteurs for the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
The key directions of cooperation between Georgia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the agenda of Georgia’s ongoing and implemented democratic reforms were the main topics discussed at today’s meeting between Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Co-Rapporteurs for the Monitoring Committee of PACE.In the meeting held at the Government Administration, special emphasis was placed on the constructive work of the PACE Monitoring Committee’s Co-Rapporteurs for the monitoring of Georgia. The Head of Government thanked the Parliamentary Assembly’s delegation for productive cooperation.The conversation also touched on the security environment and challenges in the region and worldwide.The topics discussed included the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories. The role of support from the Council of Europe for peaceful conflict resolution was underlined. Irakli Garibashvili thanked PACE for firmly supporting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.The meeting was attended by Co-Rapporteurs for the PACE Monitoring Committee Claude Kern and Edite Estrela, also by Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia Natalia Voutova, Georgia’s Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili, and Head of the Government Administration Revaz Javelidze.
THE PARLIAMENT HEARD THE ACTIVITY REPORT FOR 2022 OF THE PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION TO PACE
At the plenary session, MPs heard the Activity Report for 2022 of the Parliamentary Delegation to PACE, introduced by the Head of the Delegation, Irakli Chikovani.
“One of the acute issues for the PACE and for us was the devastation in Ukraine entailed by the Russian aggression and the decision made on the exclusion of Russia from the Coe and the preparation for a new Summit that is scheduled in May 2023 and that shall be dedicated to the planning of the further steps of the organization”, - he stated.
According to him, the Georgian Delegation was one of the main Delegations that approved the exclusion of Russia at the emergency session convened by the CoE. As noted, sundry resolutions have been adopted in 2022 related to the situation in Ukraine, where the Georgian Delegation in full composition, including the Majority and the Opposition MPs, unanimously approved the documents except one resolution providing the record about the third President of Georgia.
“This Resolution was connected neither to Georgia nor the situation in Georgia or the democratic reforms; it was an attempt, which by the way was quite successfully conducted by the EPP members and the rapporteur of the Resolution”, - he noted and added that the Resolution on Georgia initiated by the Monitoring Committee and adopted by the PACE reflects the immense progress achieved by Georgia in the democracy, rule of law and human rights protection directions.
“This progress is clearly underlined and which is unambiguously confirmed by the CoE as a whole, though it also provides the challenges in Georgia being addressed by the Government”, - the reporter ended his speech.
Georgian draft law on de-oligarchisation: Supporting the goal of limiting excessive influence of oligarchs, Venice Commission calls for systemic reforms
Strasbourg, 14.03.2023 – In its interim opinion on the draft law of Georgia on de-oligarchisation published today, the Council of Europe’s body of constitutional experts, the Venice Commission, called on the Georgian authorities to adopt systemic reforms rather than targeting specific individuals, in order to achieve “de-oligarchisation”.
“Oligarchisation” is the result of a combination of non-transparent exercise of political power without a political mandate, influence on parliaments, governments, political parties, judiciary and law enforcement bodies; ownership or influence on the media; decisive, if not monopolistic, influence on a number of areas, such as energy, mining, oil and gas, metallurgy, real estate. Eliminating such excessive influence of vested interests in economic, political and public life is a novel and very complex issue.
The Venice Commission noted that while Ukraine was the first country to adopt specific de-oligarchisation legislation, the commitment to eliminate the excessive influence of vested interests in economic, political and public life was also the object of a specific European Commission recommendation to Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. Georgia has since prepared a draft law which is very closely modelled on Ukrainian Law. Each country, however, presents specificities.
The Venice Commission supported the goal of eliminating or at least limiting the influence of oligarchs in political, economic and public life. It highlighted, however, that the choice of the means to achieve such a legitimate goal is of decisive importance if the system is to be effective while respecting democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights. Any such measures should be commensurate to the goal pursued of achieving a level playing field for all actors in society.
The Commission stressed that de-oligarchisation should be ensured through a systemic approach, which has a preventative effect and targets numerous fields, such as legislation relating to media, anti-monopoly, political parties, elections, taxation, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering, etc.
The Georgian draft law instead focuses on a so-called “personal” (punitive) approach, seeking to identify so-called “oligarchs” through specific criteria, such as wealth and media ownership, to publicly label them as “oligarchs” and to subject them to series of blanket limitations that include exclusion from the financing of political parties or activities, exclusion from privatisations of public property, etc. This approach, in the opinion of the Venice Commission, carries high risks of human rights violations and arbitrary application, potentially harming political pluralism. At the very least, the Commission recommended transferring the power to designate a person as an “oligarch” to another body than the Government, removing the broad discretion of the Government in interpreting and applying these criteria and providing strong guarantees for human rights, due process and effective remedies.
The Venice Commission has prepared the current opinion as an interim one, with a view of pursuing its analysis of possible solutions to this matter and taking into account further legislative developments when they are available.
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