Saturday

8th May 2021

'EU trying to turn Azerbaijan into Libya'

  • Oil and gas versus EU values: An old story (Photo: eni.com)

A senior Azerbaijani MP has accused the European Parliament of political "subversion" after the EU assembly said Azerbaijan's recent election was rigged.

Elkhan Suleymanov - a deputy who is close to President Ilham Aliyev and who heads the country's delegation to Euronest, an EU body for building closer relations with former Soviet states - voiced his anger in a letter to EU parliament chief Martin Schulz on Thursday (24 October).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He accused MEPs of fomenting "unrest" and of trying "to turn Azerbaijan into Libya and Syria."

He said they are "seriously damaging the reputation" of the EU and that he is "forced to suspend the activities of the Azerbaijani delegation in the Euronest PA [parliamentary assembly]."

He also accused ODIHR - the Warsaw-based election monitoring wing of the OSCE, a pan-European democracy watchdog - of serving the interests of unnamed "power states" by creating "a negative image of Azerbaijan … slander and calumny."

The letter comes after the EU parliament on Wednesday endorsed a report which said Aliyev rigged his own re-election on 9 October.

The report, drafted by Polish centre-right MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, went through by a sizeable majority.

It supported the verdict of the ODIHR, which said the regime "intimidated" opposition groups, "stuffed" ballot boxes and fiddled the vote count in "an unprecedented 58 percent of stations observed."

It also directly contradicted a previous statement by a group of seven MEPs attached to Pace, a branch of the Strasbourg-based rights watchdog, the Council of Europe.

The MEPs and Pace said the elections were "free, fair … professional and peaceful."

The group-of-seven's statement has sparked a row in the EU assembly.

"This EP/Pace report would be laughable if its implications were not so serious … It is crucial to come down hard on those who disregard internationally-agreed norms," Graham Watson, a senior British Liberal MEP, said earlier this week.

"The EP/Pace statement lends legitimacy to a blatantly fraudulent process," Holly Ruthrauff, an analyst at Electoral Reform International Services, a London-based NGO, told EUobserver.

For their part, the EU foreign service and the European Commission have also endorsed the ODIHR verdict.

But their statement on Alyiev's fake re-election was notably meek amid EU efforts to tap Azerbaijan's oil and gas riches.

Foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and neighbourhood commissioner Stefan Fuele said Aliyev should address "serious shortcomings."

But they added that they "look forward to continuing our close co-operation with Azerbaijan" and praised the vote's "strong turnout."

Opinion

Baku Games: the politics of sport

The mini-Olympics which just started in Baku is a chance to press for the release of its jailed journalists.

Opinion

EU red carpet for Azerbaijan sends wrong message

Deepening engagement with Aliyev’s government, without first securing concrete human rights improvements, tells the world the EU does not care about its own values.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Czech minister plotted to bury evidence on Russian attack
  2. Putin promotes Russia's 'Kalashnikov-like' vaccine
  3. Coronavirus: Indian variant clusters found across England
  4. UN report encourages EU methane cuts
  5. EU court upholds ban on bee-harming pesticides
  6. Israeli tourists welcomed back by EU
  7. EU duped into funding terrorist group, Israel says
  8. Brussels prepares portfolio of potential Covid-19 treatments

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU ambassadors flock to Red Square for Putin's parade
  2. MEPs win battle for bigger citizens' voice at Conference
  3. Hungary gags EU ministers on China
  4. Poland and Hungary push back on 'gender equality' pre-summit
  5. EU preparing to send soldiers to Mozambique
  6. EU now 'open' to vaccine waiver, after Biden U-turn
  7. EU mulls using new 'peace' fund to help Libyan coast guard
  8. Poland 'breaks EU law' over judges, EU court opinion says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us