Monday

24th Feb 2020

'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

Support quality EU news

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

... or join 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. Merkel's party suffers worst ever result in Hamburg
  2. 'No need to panic' on coronavirus in Italy, EU says
  3. Erdogan says he will meet Macron, Merkel on Syria
  4. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  5. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  6. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  7. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  8. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win

Opinion

Trump's 'plan' for Israel will go against EU values

As someone who has been personally targeted by Benjamin Netanyahu's incitement against Arabs and Palestinians, Christians, Muslims and Druze, I still believe that peace is possible. But Donald Trump's 'plan' will be a gift to Netanyahu's campaign.

China spy suspect worked for EU for 30 years

The former EU ambassador suspected by German prosecutors of spying for China was Gerhard Sabathil, according to EU officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. EU speaks out against Israeli settler spike
  2. Polish rule of law crisis at point of no return
  3. Africa visit and EU parliament missions This WEEK
  4. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  5. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  6. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  7. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  8. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us