Details added (first version posted on 14:57)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 17
By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:
The bill submitted to the US Congress by the Helsinki Commission, acting under Chris Smith's chairmanship, is anti-Azerbaijani in nature and is unacceptable, said Azerbaijani foreign ministry's spokesman, Hikmat Hajiyev.
"The document's initiator, Chris Smith, has always taken a pro-Armenian stance and is under influence of the Armenian lobby in the US," Hajiyev told Trend Dec. 17.
The US Helsinki Commission earlier presented an anti-Azerbaijani bill to the Congress.
Hajiyev said there is no doubt that the bill, aimed against Azerbaijan, was prepared by the Armenian lobby in the US on the eve of congressional election.
"Such steps may also adversely affect the image of the US among the public of Azerbaijan," noted Hajiyev.
He said despite the claims that the document was prepared in the interests of national security and economic interests of the US, the authors in fact intended to cast shadow on the successful cooperation between Azerbaijan and the US in energy security, combating terrorism, economy and others.
"The bill, without referring to any investigation or facts, asserted that human rights and freedom of the press are violated in Azerbaijan, and those arrested for criminal acts are called "political prisoners", which is nothing more than a deliberate bias," noted Hajiyev.
He further strongly criticized the claims contained in the bill on alleged violation of religious freedom in Azerbaijan - a country that has been a model for the entire world for its traditions of multiculturalism and centuries-old peaceful coexistence of followers of different religions and faiths.
"The bill shows once again that Azerbaijan, which is playing an important role in strategic projects, such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, TAP/TANAP, and Silk Road, in a complex geopolitical area, and being an oasis of stability and security with its policies based on the people's will, makes anti-Azerbaijani circles seriously concerned about itself," he said.