Azerbaijan Boycotts Euronest Following its Election Evaluation U-Turn

Nov 05, 2013, 08:00 ET from Azerbaijan Monitor

KIEV, Ukraine, November 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

During the bureau meeting of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly in Kiev, Ukraine, the head of Azerbaijan's delegation issued a statement explaining why he is set to boycott the body following its recent motion in which it criticised the Presidential election in Azerbaijan.

Euronest PA last month passed the motion in defiance of its own observer delegation, which had found the poll to be "free, fair and transparent".

In his letter to Euronest, the Chairman of the Azerbaijani Delegation, Elkhan Suleymanov, asked: "What's the actual position of the European Parliament? Does it want to cooperate with Azerbaijan and create peace and stability in South Caucasus? Does it recognise its reports and delegation?"

He went on to condemn Article 32 - the motion criticising the election - before announcing the withdrawal of Azerbaijan's Euronest delegation.

"Azerbaijan will stop its activity in this institution during the Armenian chairmanship of the Euronest PA from EaP component until the liberation of Azerbaijani territories from the occupation," he said, a reference to Armenia's occupation of about 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory.

Suleymanov reminded his Euronest colleagues that observer missions of the European Parliament, PACE and OSCE PA had all found the election to be fair, with the ODIHR verdict the stand-out exception.

Yet Euronest chose to side with ODIHR in defiance of its own observer team. This, he said previously, amounted to "political sabotage".

In a landslide result, incumbent Ilham Aliyev won the election of October 9th, with exit polls by American pollsters Arthur J. Finkelstein finding voters in no mood for change, given Azerbaijan's booming economy and the President's high ratings on the issues of security and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The territory and surrounding regions continue to be occupied by Armenia despite resolutions in the United Nations, the European Parliament, the OSCE and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

European Parliament President Martin Schultz said recently: "Azerbaijan and Armenia themselves should solve this complex issue." This contradicts the remit of the Minsk group, which is committed to a political solution to the occupation.

Given the lingering tensions surrounding the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan was angered that Armenia was allowed to co-chair Euronest EaP. Now Suleymanov says his team will only resume their seats when this inflammatory chairmanship comes to an end.

SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor