Tatev Hayrapetyan (Armenpress photo)

Azerbaijan Continues Notorious Caviar Diplomacy for Bribing European Officials, Experts Warn

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YEREVAN (Armenpress) — The Azerbaijani government has been bribing European lawmakers in an attempt to conceal its poor human rights record, former member of parliament and former Armenian delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Tatev Hayrapetyan on July 18 warned that Azerbaijan will continue its practices of bribing European officials, but more cautiously.

Azerbaijan’s infamous “Caviar Diplomacy” of systematic bribing, which helped conceal its human rights record, has led to investigations and convictions.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on July 13 on recommendations for reform of the European Parliament’s rules on transparency, integrity, accountability and anti-corruption.

The resolution mentions violations by various countries and organizations, including the Azerbaijani government’s actions.

“…whereas Azerbaijan has conducted large-scale influence operations, involving strong suspicions of corruption, against members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; whereas Azerbaijan has managed to avert probes into its elections and whitewash its human rights record,” reads clause T of the resolution.

Hayrapetyan said, “The scandalous reports prove that Azerbaijan’s actions in PACE involve a broad network and that the head of the Azerbaijani delegation Samad Seyidov is directly involved in criminal activity. When we were going to Strasbourg the Azerbaijanis were already acting very cautiously. Nonetheless, the facts remain and Seyidov continues to lead the Azerbaijani delegation.”

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Among those who With the scandalous ousting of Pedro Agramunt as President of PACE in 2017 not stopping the practices of the Aliyev regime, the Caviar Diplomacy continues to this day, the expert on Azerbaijan warned.

Agramunt and many other officials served at PACE for a long time and their partiality contributed to pro-Azeri wordings which did not reflect the situation neither on Azeri domestic developments not around the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Eventually all packages are collected and Baku makes a tool out of it. The facts are disclosed, perpetrators are prosecuted, but the huge damage remains, she said.

“Azerbaijan isn’t criticized for its numerous political prisoners and human rights violations, whereas European countries get lambasted for the same occurrences. Turns out there are good and bad despots for Europe, with Aliyev being the so-called acceptable despot in this case, which in turn unleashes him even more in our region. Moreover, the Azerbaijanis show that the PACE resolutions mean nothing to them, they disregard the organizations where they themselves have membership. Should these organizations display principled approach, they would have considered ousting or suspending Azerbaijan, forcing Azerbaijan to respect the European resolutions,” Hayrapetyan said.

 

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