EU resolution “an attempt to damage democratic image of Azerbaijan”

December 25, 2009

Recently, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution initiated mainly by Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake and Lithuanian MEP Vytautas Landsbergis condemning the current state of freedom of expression in Azerbaijan, calling to release journalists, editors-in-chiefs and bloggers that the Azerbaijani government has been locking up inside so busily.

The Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan has already called this resolution an indirect pressure on Azerbaijani courts. "This action can be judged as unreasonable step that puts into question the independence, fairness and impartiality of the [Azerbaijani] judicial system providing indirect pressure on decision-making of the courts," Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov said

The Parliament set up a commission to prepare a statement about the aforementioned EU resolution. The Speaker said that the EU adopted this resolution to pressure Azerbaijan’s position in negotiation process around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; the Vice-Speaker called the resolution "the peak of injustice" while someone remarked that "it was prepared by Armenian diaspora."

Samad Seyidov, the Head of the Azeri delegation to PACE who also heads international relations commission of the Parliament proposed to reconsider Azerbaijan’s relations with EU:

According to MP Samad Seyidov, the forces that do not love Azerbaijan have become active. He considers that the resolution should be reacted in two manners.

"Protest should be expressed against the resolution. First of all, this resolution is connected with Azerbaijan’s leadership in the region. On the other hand, we should analyze our work. In what direction are we working with them? We should explain Azerbaijan’s importance for Europe in the language they understand. The resolution is biased," he said.

The commission prepared a letter of protest to EU Parliament which in turn was voted in the plenary session. According to Azeri Press Agency (APA), the Parliament called the EU resolution "an attempt to damage democratic image of Azerbaijan." Here is an excerpt in APA’s translation:

Azerbaijan is working together with the European Union and prefers democratic values.

Human rights protection is one of the country’s supreme goals. No one can make us avoid this way. Our future links with the democratic development. We hope that the European Parliament will not put aside the main tendencies of the country and not be based on the principle of generalization of the different exceptional cases, while reviewing the issues about Azerbaijan.