Opposition Leaders Call upon Council of Europe to Re-consider its Policy towards Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku, 22 May / Trend corr. E. Babayev / The Azerbaijani opposition has urged the Council of Europe to re-consider its policy towards the country. "The Council of Europe should change its policy towards Azerbaijan, as stagnation in development of democracy is observed in the country after joining the Council," Sardar Jalaloglu, Chairman of the Democratic Party (DPA) stated to Trend .
Azerbaijan has been a member of Council of Europe since 2001. The Council holds intensive monitoring over the obligations that Azerbaijan assumed. The Council co-rapporteurs develop documents, which reflect the developments in the country. The next report will be discussed in the PACE session in June.
The Council of Europe, particularly, implements monitoring in the sphere of protection of human rights and improvement of legislation in Azerbaijan.
Jalaloglu said that the draft on amendments and supplements envisaged into the Election Code demonstrates again the natural relations of opposition with the Council of Europe. "The Venice Commission of Council of Europe held the negotiations with the Azerbaijani government regarding the Election Code. As a result, a worse draft on amendments and supplements was developed. We believe that somebody must put an end to such actions. The Council sees that it cannot reach serious achievements in the political dialogue and therefore does not allow opposition to participate in the negotiation processes," Jalaloglu said.
The Azadlig bloc, that unites three parties -Popular Front, Liberal and Citizen and Development, considers that there are facts which show stagnation in development of democracy in Azerbaijan after joining the Council. Ali Aliyev, a member of Azadlig and Chairman of the Citizen and Development party, stated to Trend that currently Azerbaijan experiences gap in the sphere of legislative, as well as in the press and freedom of assembly. However, withdrawal from the Council of Europe will not benefit Azerbaijan either. We should rather change the policy of international organizations towards Azerbaijan," Aliyev said.
MP Fazil Gazanfaroglu, Chairman of the opposition Great Establishment Party (GEP), stated to Trend that the opposition must break away from the framework of programs that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Monitoring Committee Co-Rapporteurs on Azerbaijan, Andres Herkel and Evguenia Jivkova, stated to the country. "Herkel stated in his latest statement that the journalists jailed in Azerbaijan must be released otherwise the co-Rapporteurs would develop more severe report on the country. Such a statement first of all demonstrates lack of principles," the MP said
"The cooperation of Azerbaijan with the organization benefits the country. I believe that we should think over how to benefit from the cooperation that the organization provides," Gazanfaroglu stated.
Aydin Mirzazade, a member of the Azerbaijani delegation to Council of Europe and member of the ruling New Azerbaijan party, stated to Trend that the statements by the opposition towards the Council of Europe have no grounds. "If Azerbaijan experience gap then the opposition itself also experience gap. It cannot be like this that the public faces degradation but the opposition develops," Mirzazade said. "Serious steps have been taken in the development of democracy after Azerbaijan's joining to the Council of Europe. Opposition wants such model of democracy which will automatically bring it to the office," Mirzazade said.
The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]