YEREVAN (ARMENPRESS)—In response to a European Parliament resolution adopted on Thursday calling for targeted sanctions against Azerbaijani officials, Azerbaijan has canceled a visit of a European Commission delegation to Baku and has said that it will “reconsider” its relations with Europe.
“Azerbaijan cancels the visit of the delegation of the European Commission to Baku for preliminary discussions on the framework of the agreement on strategic partnership with the EU because of the pre-conceived resolution of the European Parliament on Azerbaijan adopted on September 10,” reads a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.
Baku has also accused the European Union of “anti-Azerbaijanism” and “anti-Islamism” after Thursday’s vote, which approved a resolution asking the European Council to consider targeted sanctions and visa bans against Azerbaijani politicians, judges, and other officials accused of political persecutions.
“Overall, due to anti-Azerbaijani and anti-Islamic trends we must reconsider our relations with the European Union,” the statement reads.
Head of the European Union Delegation in Azerbaijan, Malena Mard, was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday in connection to the resolution, Trend reports.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev, in discussing the resolution with Mard, called the resolution “biased and destructive,” and a blow to Azerbaijan-EU relations.
“Azerbaijan strongly condemns the resolution adopted by the European Parliament,” Mammadguliyev said.
A number of Azerbaijani politicians have also come out against the resolution. Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan for Social and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov told AzerTac News that, “the European Parliament has lost the sense of reality.”
Chairman of the Azerbaijani National Assembly’s Committee on Legal Policy and State Building Ali Huseynli told APA that the, “European Parliament’s call for sanctions is funny.”
Azerbaijan’s National Assembly will hold a special session on September 14 to discuss the resolution adopted by the European Parliament. Assembly members have been recalled from break for the meeting.
The resolution adopted on Thursday called for the release of all political prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and other civil society activists, including Khadija Ismayilova, Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus, in line with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights and for a prompt investigation into the death of the journalist Rasim Aliyev.
It demands that the Azerbaijan government immediately end its crackdown on civil society and human rights work and says that, “the negotiations for a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Azerbaijan should be immediately put on hold as long the government fails to take concrete steps in advancing respect for universal human rights.”
The resolution calls on the Commission “to review and suspend temporarily, if needed, all funding not related to human rights, civil society and grassroots level people-to-people cooperation granted to Azerbaijan through the European Neighborhood Instrument, and recalls Parliament’s decision to send a delegation to Azerbaijan.”
The non-legislative resolution was adopted by 365 votes to 202, with 72 abstentions.