Azerbaijan Criticises European Parliament's Backtracking over Recent Presidential Poll

Oct 24, 2013, 09:40 ET from Azerbaijan Monitor

BAKU, Azerbaijan, October 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Azerbaijan has suspended its activities in the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly after the European Parliament (EP) defied the findings of its own observer mission to the recent Presidential elections in Azerbaijan to pass a resolution critical of the poll.

Observer missions from both the EP and the Council of Europe found the poll, which re-elected President Ilham Aliyev on October 9th, to be "free, fair and transparent". But in the past week the EP has passed a motion, which contradicts the findings of its own people on the ground in Azerbaijan.

It has now determined that the election was held in "non-conformity with the OSCE standards and non-fulfilment of OSCE requirements", a reversal, which has sparked a furious reaction from the Head of the Azerbaijan delegation to Euronest PA, Elkhan Suleymanov.

He has questioned how the EP could base a ruling on "the partial resolution of the OSCE ODIHR monitoring mission" despite the fact that "three out of four international institutions monitoring the elections - European Parliament, PA of Council of Europe and OSCE Parliamentary Assembly - have provided their positive evaluation."

He added that this is not the first such inconsistency on the part of the EP. In July it declared it didn't need to send a monitoring mission to Azerbaijan at all, before announcing a dramatic about face on the eve of the election, which, Suleymanov says, amounted to "political sabotage."

The election was monitored by almost 50,000 election monitors from around the world and was won by Aliyev in a landslide. The emphatic outcome was consistent with exit polling conducted by respected American polling firm Arthur J. Finkelstein, based on 60,000 interviews conducted at 835 polling stations.

Suleymanov also decried a contradiction by the European Parliament over the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh. Despite the fact that the European Parliament - like the United Nations, OSCE and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe - has passed resolutions condemning Armenia's occupation, its President, Martin Schulz, now says "Azerbaijan and Armenia themselves should solve this complex issue."

"This is absurd," Suleymanov said in response. He pointed out that Schultz's comments totally contradict the approach of the Minsk group, which is dedicated to finding a political solution to the occupation involving regional and international involvement.

Armenia continues to occupy 20 percent of Azerbaijan territory following a conflict two decades ago that displaced one million Azerbaijanis.

SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor