Why is Ban Ki-moon planning to visit the South Caucasus?

Why is Ban Ki-moon planning to visit the South Caucasus?

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon plans to visit the South Caucasus countries in late April 2016. Within the framework of the visit he will visit Azerbaijan and Armenia for the first time, as well as visit Georgia for the second time, a source in the secretariat of the World Organization informed, refusing to name the exact dates. 

At the same time he stressed that the visit will take place shortly after the signing ceremony of the UN climate agreement in Paris on April 22.

The official representative of the UN Secretary General, Stephane Dujarric, neither confirmed nor denied the information about a possible visit. "We cannot confirm it, but I hope that we will have something to say in this regard soon," TASS cited him as saying.

Recall that Ban Ki-moon was appointed the UN Secretary on January 1, 2007. His term will expire on December 31, 2016. According to the rules, he has no right to run for a third five-year term.

The political scientist Rovshan Ibragimov said in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza that the UN Secretary General's visit to the South Caucasus countries is no surprise. "This is one of the main functions of the UN Secretary General," he said.

According to the analyst, one of the main reasons for Ban Ki-moon's visit is the 7th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), which will be held in Baku on April 25-27.

Ibrahimov stressed that the visit of the UN Secretary General is significant for Baku. "But do not forget that Azerbaijan reached a new level in the international arena a few years ago, when the country became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Azerbaijan gained quite valuable experience in this sense," the expert noted.

"In addition, Azerbaijan has become a platform for these kinds of forums a long time ago, which are triggered not only by international organizations, but also by Baku," the analyst explained.

"I think that the general secretary's visit to Azerbaijan before the expiry of his term is quite logical. It would be strange if the visit did not take place," he added.

With regard to the activities of the UN in Azerbaijan, Rovshan Ibrahimov said that, above all, it is the work with refugees

"In general, direct contacts are very limited at the moment, because Azerbaijan does not take loans from international financial institutions, which are linked to the United Nations," the expert pointed out.

"On the other hand, taking into account Azerbaijan's active participation in a number of organizations and bodies of the United Nations, we can say that it is about the diversified policy of Azerbaijan in the United Nations, especially in matters related to culture, social affairs, international law and foreign policy," Rovshan Ibrahimov concluded.

The director of the Caucasus Institute, Alexander Iskandaryan, in his turn, suggested that Ban Ki-moon's visit to the South Caucasus countries is not associated with any specific political moments. "This visit was planned in advance. Besides, the region is quite important," he noted.

The expert explained that the importance of the South Caucasus region has increased seriously in recent years, as there are quite complex areas around the perimeter of the region. "There is the Syrian war 200-300 km south from the South Caucasus. The borders under Daesh control are about 300 km from the South Caucasus borders. Iraqi Kurdistan is located about 400 km from there. The war against the Kurds in eastern Turkey, which is located directly on the border with the South Caucasus. There is Iran with all its complex issues. The North Caucasus is also very close. The Ukrainian conflict is taking place not so far from there and so on," the political expert reminded.

The UN is implementing a number of programs in Armenia related to the development of the country, the director of the Caucasus Institute said. "For example, there is the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Yerevan, which realizes many quite serious programs," Alexander Iskandaryan said.

The political scientist Giorgi Nodia suggested that Ban Ki-moon plans to visit the South Caucasus region, as it is one of the regions with unresolved conflicts.

Speaking about the work of the UN in Georgia, the expert mentioned the UNDP. "There are also other organizations associated with the United Nations, most relating to the development, democracy, women's rights and so on," Nodia explained.

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