Politics 12:50 30/09/2015

PACE to be chaired by Azerbaijan ‘caviar diplomacy’ player Pedro Agramunt

After the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the group of the European People's Party (EPP/CD) held a PACE chair election for the January 2016 session.

Azerbaijani information agency APA reports that the candidates for the chair were the former rapporteur on Azerbaijan, Pedro Agramunt (Spain), and former PACE President, Jean-Claude Mignon (France). In the election, where 109 people voted, Pedro Agramunt was elected a new chair at PACE with 75 votes in favor and 30 against.

In accord with the internal procedure of PACE, the European People's Party stared to chair the organization after the presidency of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats.

Pedro Agramunt was a co-rapporteur of PACE Monitoring Committee on Azerbaijan. According to the European Stability Initiative (ESI), Azerbaijan has used “caviar diplomacy” since joining the Council of Europe. It includes gifts, free trips and money. The aim, ESI claims, is to create a group of apologists within PACE who consistently act in Azerbaijan’s interests. ESI considers Agramunt a long-standing “defender of the Aliyev regime.” It blames the co-rapporteurs in turning a blind eye on the increasing repressions taking place in all the spheres in Azerbaijan; their reports did not give a true picture of the human rights situation in the country.

In January 2014, Azerbaijani human rights defender Leyla Yunus, currently in jail on trumped up charges, said the co-rapporteurs of PACE Monitoring Committee, Pedro Agramunt and Josef Gresh, were responsible for the increase of the number of political prisoners in Azerbaijan, which took place in the very period they were monitoring the socio-political situation in the country. Notably, Agramunt postponed his April 2015 visit to Baku due to unforeseen circumstances. However, there soon came media reports that Agramunt avoided the visit because the authorities of Azerbaijan put pressure on him and insisted that he changed the term ‘political prisoners’ into ‘prisoners whose criminal cases have got alleged political motives’ in his upcoming report in PACE on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan.

Related:
Faktxeber.com: PACE co-rapporteur on Azerbaijan avoids visit to Baku because of country authorities’ pressure
The Economist: Since joining the CoE Azerbaijan has used ‘‘caviar diplomacy’’
‘‘Zerkalo’’: Pro-Azerbaijani co-rapporteurs of PACE try to protect themselves, condemning arrests of oppositionists



Source Panorama.am
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