BAKU, Azerbaijan, December 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Azerbaijan's delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly believes 2014 has been a year of "attacks, resolutions and declarations" against their country, which now casts a "grave shadow" over the objectivity of the European Parliament.
The head of the delegation, Elkhan Suleymanov, said Azerbaijan has effectively been punished for its positive engagement with Europe through the Eastern Partnership Initiative of the EU.
He is concerned that Azerbaijan has been singled out for criticism while rival Armenia chooses to "abandon ties with the EU" by joining the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Unions. Given this move, Suleymanov questions why Armenia has been rewarded with even more EU funding and the privilege of hosting the next Euronest Plenary Session in Yerevan next year, a meeting Azerbaijan will boycott.
All these factors, he said in an open letter to the European Parliament Conference of Presidents last week, "casts a shadow over the whole EP."
Suleymanov is also critical of an October report, which looked at ways of building stronger partnerships between the EU and eastern partner countries via the European Neighbourhood Instrument.
The report focussed on the crisis in Ukraine and "condemns the Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea". But it makes no mention of Azerbaijan's land annexed by Armenia and the continuing suffering that has been caused. Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding Azerbaijani territories has been condemned by a number of international organisations, including the United Nations Security Council and the European Parliament.
"The Azerbaijani people demand from the European Union to show the same level of support for Azerbaijan, the 20% territory which is under occupation for over 23 years, as it has for Ukraine today," Suleymanov wrote.
He further noted that his views on Europe's failings were echoed by His Holiness Pope Francis in his recent address to the plenary session of the European Parliament.
The Pope said: "In recent years, as the European Union has expanded, there has been growing mistrust on the part of citizens towards institutions considered to be aloof, engaged in laying down rules perceived as insensitive to individual peoples, if not downright harmful."
But despite these concerns, Suleymanov remains positive about 2015. He concluded his letter expressing the hope that the European Parliament can "present an objective face towards Azerbaijan" next year.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor