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Black list backfires: PACE suspends committee meetings in Azerbaijan

Black list backfires: PACE suspends committee meetings in Azerbaijan

PanARMENIAN.Net - Following the Azerbaijani authorities' last-minute decision to withdraw a visa already granted to Vice-President of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE,) René Rouquet (France, SOC), effectively preventing him from attending the meetings of the PACE Bureau and Standing Committee in Baku on 22 and 23 May, the Bureau of PACE decided in Baku that no more Assembly committee meetings will be held in Azerbaijan for two years, as of 1 June 2014, Council of Europe’s official website said in a statement.

This decision will not apply in the case of missions to observe elections.

When taking its decision, the Bureau held that there had been a violation of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe, and its Paris Protocol, which enshrine the dual principle of the non-liability of parliamentarians and their inviolability, as well as that of the free movement of members of the Parliamentary Assembly. However, the measure could be lifted by the Bureau if the Azerbaijani authorities guarantee freedom of movement of Assembly members in Azerbaijan when travelling on Assembly business.

On August 2, Azeri Foreign Ministry published the notorious blacklist, which includes Slovak politician Frantişek Mikloşko, Argentinean parliamentarian Jose Arbo, Russian expert Andrey Areshev, Baroness Caroline Cox, opera star Montserrat Caballé and many other famous personalities.

The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan

The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan broke out as result of the ethnic cleansing launched by the Azeri authorities in the final years of the Soviet Union. The Karabakh War was fought from 1991 (when the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was proclaimed) to 1994 (when a ceasefire was sealed by Armenia, NKR and Azerbaijan). Most of Nagorno Karabakh and a security zone consisting of 7 regions are now under control of NKR defense army. Armenia and Azerbaijan are holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group up till now.

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