Pino Arlacchi: “We told the truth and refused to endorse a wrong vision of Azerbaijan” - INTERVIEW - EXCLUSIVE

“ODIHR consists of so-called experts with no political responsibilities”

Baku. Victoria Dementyeva – APA. APA’s interview with head of the European Parliament’s observation mission on the presidential election in Azerbaijan Pino Arlacchi


Did you participate in the European Parliament’s discussions regarding the presidential elections in Azerbaijan and how do you assess criticizing positions of several parliamentarians and adopted resolution?


- First of all, I would not attach a great importance to the amendment to the resolution of our ENP policy that criticizes elections in Azerbaijan. Because the results of our observation mission are taken into account. And we said that the elections were free and fair. Secondly, it is too bad that some groups in the Parliament like the Greens, who promoted that motion are so biased against the all Parliament. Because the resolution was approved through with the abstention with Socialist group, it means a large part of the Parliament, with the support of very distracted audience, nobody really paid great attention to that rotation. So I would not go so far to say that it really contradicts what we said. They do not say that we did wrong, they say that the ODIHR report was reliable.


You said that some group of parliamentarians had taken criticizing positions. What is behind the intention of this group of parliamentarians?


- Many people in the parliament and outside it expected us to endorse of an idea of Azerbaijan as an authoritarian country with zero democracy, with no respect for rules. Since we completely contradicted this view these groups were very disappointed and tried to strike back against us just because we told the truth and refused to endorse a wrong vision of Azerbaijan.


How can you explain so big difference in estimation of European parliament, PACE and OSCE ODIHR?


- It is very simple. We were 66 parliamentarians belonging to 3 different Assemblies- CoE, OSCE and EP. We all observed election freely and have positive opinion about the elections. ODIHR consists of so-called experts with no political responsibilities, who were not elected by anybody. So it is easy to manipulate them. Our evaluation has been done on the sense of responsibility, also being parliamentarians we know elections very well much better than experts who want just to be sure that they will get their next job in next occasion.


While issuing your initial opinion on your observations in Baku, you said that the mission would release a final report. When will the final report on elections be released?


-We already prepared a short report and will release a larger report. It will be released after the discussion in the Foreign affairs committee. We will have this discussion when it is put to the agenda. I think it will take place in the next couple of weeks. We had already a preliminary discussion where I presented the results of our observation mission. And we did not face any strong objection inside foreign affairs committee. Foreign affairs committee consists of experienced politicians, most of whom already did observations, so they basically respect what other colleagues did.

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