Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Commentary on the OSCE Office Closure in Baku

18 June 2015

Aleksandra Jarosiewicz, Senior Fellow at the Department for the Turkey, Caucasus and Central Asia of the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) comments on the closing of the OSCE’s Project Co-ordinator in Baku by Azerbaijani authorities. The note from Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry with the demands to suspend the activities before the end of the month was received by the OSCE office on 5 June. The OSCE’s withdrawal was announced a week before the inauguration of the European Olympic Games in Baku - the event the Azerbaijani government wanted to use to build up the country’s international prestige. The OSCE’s status in Baku was already reduced to the status of project co-ordinator in 2014, after the increasing pressure from the government limiting the organisation’s mandate in Azerbaijan. It is not yet clear when the organisation will withdraw from the country.

Jarosiewicz comments on the wider trend of restricting the activities of foreign organisations, the independent media and CSOs. Moreover, the situation with inviting the OSCE to observe the Azerbaijani parliamentary elections in autumn is unclear at the moment. Finally, Azerbaijan’s actions in the process of shaping relations with the EU in light of the renewed interest in the possibility of reducing the EU’s dependence on gas supplies from Russia is analysed.

Read the commentary here

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