Steinmeier: Azerbaijan must become important element of stability in region
The OSCE chairperson, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, assessing the current state of relations with Azerbaijan, said that "Azerbaijan is blessed with energy resources and is an important partner in the region of the Southern Caucasus and the Caspian Sea." According to him, their bilateral economic cooperation increased in 2015 "not only due to the fact that Germany buys significant quantities of oil from Azerbaijan." "The German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce is very active," Steinmeier said.
He also expressed interest in increasing cultural and humanitarian exchange. "Our Embassy and the German Cultural Centre 'Kapellhaus' run many cultural activities like concerts and exhibitions," the Foreign Minister pointed out.
"There are nine schools in Azerbaijan that teach German as the first foreign language and we have a number of scholarships for Azerbaijani students," he continued.
According to the minister, all of these are important vectors of bilateral cooperation with Azerbaijan. "We want Azerbaijan to be an important element of stability in the region," Steinmeier said.
Commenting on Germany's presidency of the OSCE this year, he said that "it will actively focus on trying to find solutions to regional conflicts." "But we also want to develop the OSCE further as a platform for open and constructive dialogue," he noted.
"Concerning Nagorno-Karabakh, we think that the recent escalation we have witnessed is in nobody’s interest," Trend cited the head of the German Foreign Ministry as saying. "Therefore, as OSCE chair we will support the efforts by the Minsk Group to work towards a resolution of this conflict," he stressed. "It would be very important for the overall stability of the region and we count on a constructive approach by all sides," the diplomat added.
Referring to the tensions between Russia and Turkey, Steinmeier said that the two countries are important members of the international community and the OSCE. And they both have a great responsibility for peace and stability in the region. Moscow and Ankara also have a crucial role to play in the current international efforts to stop the civil war in Syria and in the fight against Daesh, he added, calling on Russia and Turkey to "find a constructive way out of the bilateral crisis."
Speaking about the migration crisis in the European Union, Steinmeier said that "of course, we must work on securing our external borders." "We are cooperating with Turkey on this issue," he added.
Steinmeier stressed the need to "address the root causes of the refugee problem." According to him, "no country can solve this crisis alone and there is no single solution".
"Therefore, we need to act in unison and solidarity within Europe, but also with our partners beyond Europe," the Foreign Minister of Germany concluded.