Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Foreigners are shocked by Azerbaijan

May 25, 2007
Yerkir, Armenia

They cannot understand how one can say something but do something completely different.

Another drama between the Azeri government and the media is underway in Azerbaijan. The Azeri National Security Service and the Ministry of Emergency Situations searched the offices of the opposition newspapers “Realni Azerbaijan” and “Gundeliq Azerbaijan” and confiscated the equipment. The apartment of the chief editor of Realni Azerbaijan newspaper Eynuli Fatulayev was also searched, the editor was arrested with charges of calls for terrorism.

The Azeri journalists are asking – how can it happen that in their country that is a member of the Council of Europe and has undertaken commitments for democratic development and freedom of speech journalists are arrested, bitten and even shot in front of the eyes of foreign diplomats, international organizations and law enforcemene agencies?

The media in Azerbaijan are writing that the Azeri authorities are completely ignoring the opinions of any international organizations. And this happens in all spheres, not only with the media, leader of the public forum For Azerbaijan, one of the opposition leaders Eldar Namazov says. “We can observe the same situation in our economic policies when the government is trying to convince us that the economy is developing only at the expense of the oil industry.

Meanwhile, the existing oil processing contracts show that the oil industry is going to decline in 2011. Linking the country’s economy only to the oil industry is a suicide for any country. We have stagnation, if not a regress in many other sectors. There is not a single sector in Azerbaijan where the situation would be positive.

Corruption is eroding the entire public administration system. The judicial system is fully controlled by the government. We have political prisoners. Media are constantly under pressure from the government. I do not think it will be possible to achieve any positive results by improving the situation in any particular sector.

The government does not need independent media because they do not need fair trials and free elections. They do not want public control of the state because that would eliminate corruption. This is a government crisis,” Namazov says.

He believes the Azeri government is violating both its international commitments and treaties and the Azeri legislation. Europe is not happy with this situation. The international organizations do not have a clue that the Azeri government deserves sanctions. At the same time Strasburg is worried that the Azeri authorities “are trying to get rid of the Council of Europe monitoring which will result in greater pressure and more violence against the independent media and the political opposition.”

Namazov points out that the Azeri government is making the most unexpected, sometimes even ridiculous decisions right before the CoE Parliamentary Assembly sessions as if trying to push this organizations to apply sanctions against Azerbaijan.

“The same thing happened on the eve of the last Parliamentary Assembly session and the other international events where the issue of Azerbaijan was discussed. This is the Azeri authorities’ strategy which causes serious concerns in the West.”

The Azeri authorities are trying to build their relations with other countries based on oil – we give you oil, you give us a carte blanche for repressive domestic policies. And they succeed in this. “The government is saying that it is fulfilling its Council of Europe commitments while the situation is completely the opposite,” Namazov says.

The international and European organizations have been ignoring the arbitrary actions in Baku’s domestic and foreign policy front for the sake of oil. Namazov says he is aware of dozens of cases when representatives of authoritative international organizations have stated that an issue has been settled and agreed with the Azeri government while in a couple of days the government did something completely opposite. “It was a pain for me to look at these foreigners faces. They simply could not understand how one can say one thing but do something completely different”.

Meanwhile, the same foreigners are trying to convince us, Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh, to come to an agreement with the government of Azerbaijan that has been cheating the international community for so long. Moreover, they are trying to convince us of the Azeri government’s “peace loving” nature and its “goodwill”. Let us remind our respected European colleagues that we, the Armenians have already passed through this as opposed to Europe.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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