Azerbaijan Press Council: Russian Foreign Ministry denies truth that everyone saw (UPDATE)

Details added (first version was posted on 16:18)

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 4


Distortion of the answer given by the Russian Foreign Ministry's official to a question asked on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during a press briefing on June 1 raises ire, said Azerbaijani MP, Chairman of the Press Council of Azerbaijan Aflatun Amashov.

"This was done intentionally," Amashov said commenting on distortion of the answer of the Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Department Artyom Kozhin.

"There is no reason to think otherwise. We plan to appeal to Russia's Embassy in Azerbaijan, the Russian journalist organizations and the Foreign Ministry of that country," he added.

Amashov noted that one can clearly hear Kozhin's answer to correspondent of Trend News Agency in a video from the press conference.

"Everything is quite clear in the given answer. Kozhin openly said 'loud statements that do not fit onto the appropriate rails, in particular laid by the OSCE, are probably not constructive'. This is Kozhin's view in response to the remarks previously made by the Armenian Prime Minister in Khankendi. And Trend correspondent asked the question for clarification. And the fact that later Kozhin's position is presented differently on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry causes regret. It turns out that Kozhin accuses an Azerbaijani journalist," Amashov stressed.

He noted that such a lack of seriousness at the foreign policy authority of the country, which is a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, is unexpected.

"What stands behind this issue? What is the reason for this unserious step? It is known that Armenia's media and political circles ambiguously reacted to Kozhin's opinion. There was even emphasized that over the past 15 years Russia has not had such a tough attitude towards Armenia in connection with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict issue. Is Russia afraid of this? Or the fact that Kozhin changed his mind means support by Sergei Lavrov [Russian foreign minister], who is assessed in political circles as a pro-Armenian diplomat? Or maybe Lavrov is making a new attempt to delay the negotiation process? In any case, all this does no credit to Russia's Foreign Policy, which calls itself a superpower," he said.

Amashov said that another issue causing outrage is that the Russian Foreign Ministry turns journalism into an instrument, creates a frivolous image of a journalist, as if one can shift blame to a journalist.

" Denying the truth that everyone saw! And for what? For the sake of Armenia? Is Russia so afraid of Armenia or afraid of Lavrov?! I repeat that everything was visible first-hand and the question of the journalist, and the answer given to him. There have been no such manipulations in world history ... It's a pity!" Amashov said.

On June 1, Artyom Sokolov, a journalist of Trend News Agency, at a briefing in the Russian Foreign Ministry asked Deputy Director of the ministry’s Information and Press Department Artyom Kozhin the following question:

“In one of his recent interviews, the Armenian prime minister [Nikol Pashinyan] stated that negotiations on the settlement of the [Armenia-Azerbaijan] Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are impossible without participation of the illegal regime created in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. A question arises in this regard: in your opinion, how much such statements complicate the settlement process and prevent the parties from finding a common ground?”

The answer of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official is as follows:

“In general, loud statements that do not fit onto the appropriate rails, in particular laid by the OSCE, are probably not constructive. I would say so.”

The corresponding article together with the video footage of the briefing was posted on the Trend website at 15:16 (GMT +4). The article, just like the video footage, is still available on our website.

However, an hour later, the transcript of the briefing was posted on the official website of the Russian Foreign Ministry, with the words “in general” in Kozhin’s answer replaced with “your” for some inexplicable reason, and, as a result, the essence of the Russian diplomat’s statement was completely distorted.

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