States is condemning the use of force against peaceful protestors in Azerbaijan but also says it is encouraged by the attempts of President Ilham Aliyev and his government to address shortcomings in recent parliamentary elections, a statement by the US Department of State reads.
The United States has said it believes that the November 6 parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan showed вЂњimprovement over previous elections in some areas,вЂќ but it shares the view of international observers that the elections did not meet a number of international standards. Ambassador Finley, the permanent U.S. representative to the OSCE, described what happened: вЂњPolice rushed into the square where the demonstrators were rallying, wielded truncheons and turned water cannons against them,вЂќ she said.
In her remarks to the OSCE Permanent Council, Finley, too, noted some of the positive post-election developments: вЂњMy Government was encouraged by the response of President Aliyev and his government as they began to address flaws in the election process and respond to the findings in the report of the International Election Observation Mission,вЂќ she said. As positive examples, she cited the annulling of results in four constituencies and the promise to rerun those elections at a future date; the overturning of two results in favor of opposition candidates; the firing of three local government officials for election interference; and the opening of at least 15 criminal cases by the Prosecutor General.
вЂњThe United States was very disappointed and very perplexed when the police used excessive force against peaceful supporters of the opposition Azadliq bloc in Baku, who were exercising their right to freedom of assembly on November 26,вЂќ tU.S. diplomat Finley said.
вЂњThe United States strongly condemns this unjustified and unprovoked use of force,вЂќ Finley said. вЂњIt contravened citizens' rights to freedom of expression and assembly and violated core OSCE principles. We urge the government to investigate the incidents and punish those responsible.вЂќ