On 4 October in Baku, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
the activities of the Council of Europe and threatened that Azerbaijan would quit the organization. The head of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE, Samad Seyidov, has now made similar remarks.
The autumn session of PACE
in Strasbourg on 9 October. The Azerbaijani delegation, led by Samad Seyidov, the chairman of the Azerbaijani parliament’s committee on international relations and inter-parliamentary relations, is attending the five-day session.
At the first plenary meeting of the session, Samad Seyidov said that he was not optimistic about the future of PACE. He
: “I can’t share the optimistic opinions expressed here by my colleagues about the future activities of the Council of Europe. Our organization is currently experiencing a very difficult time. Instead of moving forward, we are moving backward. The issue that is leading us to a dead-end is the lack of leadership and purpose in the structure. Unfortunately, instead of protecting the fundamental principles – democracy, human rights and the rule of law – here we become more of a witness to a fight for a post and to inter-personal disputes. All of this deals is a major blow to the image of the organization.”
Seyidov said: “When we see some parliamentarians, as well as the secretary-general of the Council of Europe, make very aggressive and unacceptable statements against member states, we start wondering – what are we doing here and why are we still in this organization? We, a Muslim country, have contributed to the development of European values, but for some reason we are getting most of the pressure. We are not going to accept the unreasonable pressure from European politicians who consider themselves to be more Catholic than the Pope. We see that there is separatist sentiment even within PACE, and this makes us wonder about one more thing: why are we in this organization? I do not know the answer to this question yet.”
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
at a meeting with a delegation from the EU’s Political and Security Committee in Baku on 4 October: “If Azerbaijan leaves the Council of Europe, nobody will attach importance to this. Nothing will change in our life – after that, our life will not become better or worse, or richer or poorer.”
“Unfortunately, some spokespersons for the Council of Europe have launched new attacks on Azerbaijan lately. They are threatening to strip us of our membership and apply sanctions against us. Naturally, our politicians, parliamentarians, journalists and citizens are demonstrating an adequate response,” Aliyev said.
Two Azerbaijan-related reports
will be heard
at the autumn session of PACE.
The first report – titled “The functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan” – has been prepared by Stefan Schennach and Cezar Florin Preda, the Azerbaijan co-rapporteurs of PACE Monitoring Committee, following their visit to this country.
The other report – titled “Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship of the Council of Europe: What follow-up on respect for human rights?” – has been authored by Alain Destexhe, a Belgian MP.