Thursday

8th Dec 2016

'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).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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."

Commission won't call Castro a dictator

The EU executive says that a statement decribing the former Cuban leader as a "hero for many" is balanced and suggests that the use of the word dictator by a commissioner doesn't reflect its position.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  2. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  3. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  5. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  7. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  8. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  9. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  10. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  11. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  12. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children