Otto Hauser: "There are people who feel no shame about uncovered lies"
Interview by Orkhan Sattarov, Head of the European Bureau of Vestnik Kavkaza
Vestnik Kavkaza offers an interview with Otto Hauser, German ex-Secretary of State, currently Honorary Consul of Azerbaijan in Stuttgart.
- Mr. Hauser, you have been the Azerbaijani Honorary Consul to Germany for about four years. What do you think has changed in the attitude of Germans towards Azerbaijan in the last years? Has interest in the country grown?
- Azerbaijan has been fixed in the conscience of Germans in different fields. Events similar to the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku gave an opportunity to look at the country from a new angle. Many cultural events, especially in 2013, organized in different cities of Germany with the close assistance of the Heydar Aliyev Fund, have emotionally brought Germans closer to Azerbaijan.
Our economic cooperation grows fast: two thirds of all visas we issue are work visas. The business interests of Germans in Azerbaijan, and vice versa, have increased greatly in the past two years. Cooperation was also started in the field of professional education. The Stuttgart Consulate for Cooperation with the Azerbaijani Government is implementing dual professional education of the German model. We want to export this German history of success to Azerbaijan.
- Azerbaijani gas from the second phase of the Shah Deniz development should be delivered to European markets by 2019. Should we expect a breakthrough in Azerbaijani-German trade relations in this context?
- It is important for me to see the economic presence of Azerbaijan more distinctly this way. While Azerbaijan remains the sixth biggest exporter of oil to Germany, gas supplies would be the second important step to boost the economic presence of Azerbaijan in the largest economy of Europe. This is emphasized by the energy partnership between the two states.
- In your opinion, will the policy of the German federal government in the South Caucasus change under the rule of the greater coalition of socialists and Christian democrats? Reappearing Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is notable for his peacekeeping initiative to settle frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus. Should we expect such initiatives?
- I hope that Germany will understand its political responsibility. You cannot be just energy partners, leaving all other fields of politics behind parenthesis. We need mutual commitment. Azerbaijan, being an exporter of energy resources, strengthens the energy security of Germany. With the help of Azerbaijan, Germany will diversify sources of energy materials, especially natural gas. Azerbaijan, in its turn, has grounds to expect Germany to make a contribution to a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. After all, this is a matter of security of oil and gas transportation via the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey route. The conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh aggravates logistical risks. This is why it would be better for the German government and the European Commission to engage in the issue more actively.
- It is obvious that Armenia and Azerbaijan have been in a state of constant information war that affects the European space as well. A few months ago, Panarmenian.net referred to you as well. The agency, quoting German ex-Ambassador Hans Johan Schmidt, says that you invited German observers for last year's presidential elections in Azerbaijan and they spent most of their time in the country having fun...
- I was horrified reading that article. I am not acquainted with the German ex-ambassador to Yerevan. This is why such reports are absolute fiction and lies. I demanded that ex-Ambassador Schmidt to write a note taking his words back. In his response, he assured me that those words were made up and he had never said them. The ex-ambassador expressedregret over the publication. It makes it clear that there are people and propagandists who feel no shame for uncovered lies. It is sad to see what childish methods they use.