Following the agreement reached at the last Executive Committee held in Brussels in the month of March, on 7, 8 and 9 July the official visit to Baku, Azerbaijan was organized.
This visit was headed up by Executive Secretary Antonio López-Istúriz when President Cassini was forced to cancel at the last moment.
Some other members of the Executive Committee also attended, such as President Gemayel, from Lebanon, as well as leaders of other member political parties of the IDC.
The mission’s objective was to learn first hand about the political situation in the country in order to provide an appropriate response to the New Azerbaijan Party’s (NAP, or YAP, according to its acronym in Azerbaijani) request to join our organization.
Contacts were made and meetings were held with various members of civil society, journalists and officials from some NGOs, in addition to the Central Electoral Board, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of the Parliament, the ambassador of the European Union, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary-General of the NAP, and various other representatives. Finally, the Executive Secretary met with President Aliyev.
In summary, it was a very interesting mission which gave the participants a broad view of the situation in the country.
It is evident that the transition from the old Soviet mentality of imposition (after almost 200 years of dominance and submission) to a full-fledged Western-style regime of public liberties and fundamental rights is not possible overnight, but it is also true that the country and its institutions evidence a decided commitment to Westernize in the broadest sense of the word. Achieving a much-coveted rapprochement with Europe, and distancing from Russia and its zone of influence, will represent major achievements for the country and its citizens.