BRUSSELS—A noted pro-Azerbaijani lawmaker from Spain was elected the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe on Monday ahead of the organization’s winter session, which is scheduled to begin Tuesday.
The head of the Armenian delegation to PACE, Hermine Naghdalian was elected vice-president of PACE during the same session. She will be one of 20 vice-presidents that were elected representing various PACE-member states.
Pedro Agramunt, a Spanish lawmaker and the chairman of the European People’s Party at the Council of Europe (EPP-CD) Group, will replace Luxembourgian lawmaker Anne Brasseur as the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Last year he was the rapporteur on the functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan, with human rights organizations accusing him of bias in his approach to Azezrbaijan.
In June, The Economist cited a report prepared by the European Stability Initiative in which Agramunt was described as an ally of Azerbaijan.
“There are very few fellow members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) who have been to Azerbaijan as regularly over the past decade as Pedro Agramunt, the conservative Spanish senator, a businessman from Valencia. Agramunt has been consistent in this approach to Azerbaijan: from the very beginning of his relationship with Baku he has been a defender of the Aliyev regime. The latest monitoring report is his masterpiece,” the ESI report stated.
During the autumn session of PACE, Agramunt emerged as a proponent of a resolution adopted by a sub-committee, which was authored by British Member of Parliament Robert Walter, whose report was pro-Azerbaijani and in the summer was granted Turkish citizenship.
Following the passage of the resolution and another, which centered on the use of the Sarsang Reservoir in Artsakh, the OSCE Minks Group co-chairmen warned international organizations to not interfere in the Karabakh conflict resolution processes. The co-chairmen issued a similar rebuke to PACE last week.
Meanwhile, The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy stated Monday that the two anti-Armenian draft resolutions may be removed from the PACE agenda
During a press conference on Monday, Brasseur announced that the final decision whether to hold the discussions would be decided by the Assembly.
“Armenia and Azerbaijan are Council of Europe member states and we must find solutions so that people live in peace. To succeed in this goal, we must work strenuously, as people in that region are suffering. They are Council of Europe citizens, their rights must be defended, and we have to find ways. The issue must find a solution. My personal opinion is that we must not leave things the way they exist today,” said Brasseur.
The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is elected for one year by majority of votes and can be reelected once.