Baku. EU leaders responded to a letter of
appeal sent by civil society in Azerbaijan prior to a visit to Brussels by
Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.
The message was drawn up on the initiative
of the Club of Human Rights, IRFS, and Media Center. Fifty activists signed the
message, which was addressed to the President of the European Commission Jose
Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
The authors urged the EU not to sacrifice
democracy in the name of energy interests.
According to the authors of the message, a prerequisite for the
realization of the Southern Gas Corridor should be the provision of human
rights in Azerbaijan. Yesterday, on
behalf of Barroso and Van Rompuy, the head of the EU Directorate for Russia,
Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and the OSCE, Gunnar
Wiegand, sent a reply to the activists.
The letter states that on January 13,
2011, Azerbaijan and the EU signed a Declaration on the Southern Gas Corridor,
a decision on the draft TAP (Trans-Adriatic Pipeline) and Nabucco West. Private
companies with a commercial character entered into this agreement. The EU will
support the decisions made by the companies.
The letter certified that the EU is
committed to protecting human rights, the rule of law and the independence of
the judiciary in Azerbaijan. On March
20, 2013, the annual report of the European Neighborhood Policy noted that
Azerbaijan implements a very small part of the recommendations of the EU.
"It is worrying the EU. In addition,
the EU called for the implementation of PACE report on political prisoners in
The EU called on Baku to commit to the
Action Plan for the Protection of Human Rights, which was signed by the
country's President in December 2011. The EU also expects Azerbaijan to be
aligned with international standards of legislation on freedom of assembly,
association and the media, to investigate the facts of physical pressure on
journalists and to increase their efforts to ensure the independence of the
"Another important issue is the
organization of free, fair and transparent presidential elections in the
upcoming fall. The process will be closely monitored by the EU Delegation in
Azerbaijan and the Foreign Policy Commission in Brussels. Be assured that the
issues of human rights, the rule of law, freedom of expression and assembly
have always been raised during the visits of Commissioner Fule, President
Barroso, President Van Rompuy and High Representative Ashton, and was the
subject of discussion during last week's visit by President Aliyev with EU
institutions," says the message by Wiegand.