Baku accuses European Commission VP of poor awareness of Azerbaijani realities

Baku accuses European Commission VP of poor awareness of Azerbaijani realities

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 8 / Trend S. Agayeva /

Vice President for the Digital Agenda of European Commission Nellie Kroes is not informed about Azerbaijan and visits the country for the first time, Head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Novruz Mammadov said today. He was commenting on Kroes' remarks about Internet freedom in Azerbaijan.

"Frankly speaking, I have little information about her," he said. "I know that this is her first visit to Azerbaijan and she does not have any information about our country. If this had not been so, she would not have asked a representative accompanying her why Nakhchivan has been isolated from Azerbaijan. But it is not a sin not to know something. It can be ignored."

Mammadov noted that Kroes she did not come to attend the opening ceremony and the VII Internet Governance Forum organized by UN in Azerbaijan, although was invited.

"It means, holding such an important UN event in Azerbaijan was not interesting for Ms. Kroes, despite this international organization's appreciation of Azerbaijan for the achievements in Internet governance sphere," Mammadov said.

He said the UN organized VII International Internet Governance Forum brought together over 1,500 foreign experts, managers, engaged in Internet governance, and ministers from over 20 countries.

Attending the forum were UN Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union Hamadoun Toure, president of the International Corporation ICANN Fadi Chehade, president of the U.S International Internet Society Lynn St Amour, Coordinator of the U.S. Department of State for International Communications and Information Policy Philip Verveer, Google vice-president Vinton Cerf and dozens of senior representatives of Internet governance.

Their major position, which also included those of British, Slovenian, and Egyptian ministers was that Azerbaijan has really achieved great success in Internet governance.

"Azerbaijan has freedom of the Internet. The programs of Internet radio and Internet television, online newspapers and magazines, internal and external social networks are widespread. Thousands of bloggers blog freely in Azerbaijan's internet sphere," he said.

Mammadov added that the protection of human rights in Azerbaijan as in European countries is one of the important areas of activity of modern Internet network.

"Developing Internet media, freedom of opinion and expression in the Internet, expanding the social networks, ensuring an open and transparent activity of the government, citizens' engagement in management processes are the new opportunities provided by global Internet network in Azerbaijan," he noted.

"I will repeat myself, as Vice-President for the Digital Agenda of European Commission, Nellie Kroes did not participate in the major events of the forum, to which she was invited. She arrived in Azerbaijan for the first time. She did not have any information about our country. However, there is such an impression that she came with a special mission. This mission is to spread false, biased and wrong information through the interview."

"The world community, appreciating the work of the Azerbaijani government in the field of Internet governance and ensuring freedom of expression, considers Azerbaijan as the leader in the region, but Kroes is engaged in slandering," he said.

"If this had been the goal, she could have done this in Brussels," he said. "In any case, she does not have information about Azerbaijan."

"Kroes must understand that she holds a very high position and her duty is to contribute to the partnership, rather than hinder it," Mammadov noted.

"If she thinks that she has the right to give the instructions or orders to an independent country, she is wrong," he said. "This must be understood. It is unacceptable to talk with Azerbaijan in such a high tone. I am disappointed, if she does not understand this."

Mammadov noted that it is unclear how the Vice President of the European Commission understands the responsibility, while speaking of fundamental rights.

"It seems that she is unaware of occupation of Azerbaijan's territory for over 20 years and more than one million people living in these areas, who have been deprived of these fundamental for many years," he underscored.

"Kroes certainly knows [she has been holding this post for 2 years] that such biased, wrong statements hamper the development of the cooperation, rather than contribute to it," he said.

"So she is better not to put herself in a bad position by interfering in other areas. Azerbaijan's cooperation with the European Union and NATO is at a very high level. I would like to inform her that a memorandum of strategic cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU was signed in 2006. Perhaps, she is unaware of that as well. Regarding the cooperation with NATO, if we take into account all aspects, including the cooperation related to Afghanistan, I think there is no need to underline to what extent Azerbaijan's role was appreciated in this partnership. If Kroes had showed a bit interest, she would have regretted about her statements."

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