BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
In a rare moment of unity and consensus, government and opposition parties in Azerbaijan have joined forces to condemning the resolution "Azerbaijan: Ramil Safarov Issue", adopted by the European Parliament on September 13th.
A joint statement, signed by 18 national political parties, including the governing "New Azerbaijan" and main opposition group "Musavat", stressed that the resolution on Ramil Safarov's extradition from Hungary and subsequent amnesty by the President of Azerbaijan is "absolutely biased and serves the interests of Armenia and the Armenian lobby."
Azerbaijani MPs described the resolution as "nothing but an attempt to conceal the military crimes carried out by aggressive Armenia," which has occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan's territory, leading to the displacement of nearly one million people, and "to disguise Armenia`s non-constructive position in the talks, which are now in stalemate."
In the joint statement, the political parties further pointed to a double standard among European institutions, stressing the fact that in the past two decades they had not taken action to condemn the pardon and subsequent release of members of Armenian terrorist organisation ASALA, such as Monte Melkonian, Vazgen Sislian and Varuzhan Karapetian.
After being convicted for committing crimes against Azerbaijani citizens and other civilians in the United States, France and other parts of the world, the terrorists were given Armenian citizenship and welcomed in Yerevan, where they were hailed as heroes.
The resolution on Safarov was adopted following a heated debate in Strasbourg last week, with the votes of only 50 MEPs, representing merely 6,5% of the total parliamentarians. The Liberal Group, which was the initiator of the resolution, withdrew before the plenary vote. The Socialists, who are the second major group in the hemicycle, also voted against the resolution. The EPP Group, which voted in favor, managed nonetheless to reject key amendments containing even harsher criticism about the handling of the Safarov case.
Safarov, a native of the occupied territories of Nagorno-Karabakh, was convicted of murdering an Armenian soldier during a NATO training course in Budapest in 2004, claiming that he spat on the Azerbaijani flag and humiliated him.
Hungary extradited Safarov to Azerbaijan in conformity with the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, after serving more than 8 years in prison. His release and amnesty once again drew attention to the frozen Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Four United Nations resolutions calling for Armenia's immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal from the occupied territories have not been enforced. Analogous resolutions have been approved by PACE, OSCE and the European Parliament.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor