BRUSSELS—Authorities at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have barred Azerbaijan from hosting PACE committee meetings for the next two years as a result of Baku’s recent decision to deny a PACE official entry into the country because of what Baku authorities deemed as his “pro-Armenian” political stance.
Following the Azerbaijani authorities’ last-minute decision on Tuesday to withdraw a visa granted to the Vice President of PACE and Member of the French Parliament René Rouquet, effectively preventing him from attending the meetings of the PACE Bureau and Standing Committee in Baku on 22 and 23 May, the Bureau of PACE decided on Friday in Baku that no more Assembly committee meetings will be held in Azerbaijan for two years, as of June 1. This decision will not apply in the case of missions to observe elections.
When taking its decision, the Bureau held that there had been a violation of PACE’s general agreement and the Paris Protocol, which establish the dual principle of the non-liability of members of parliament and their inviolability, as well as that of the free movement of members of the Parliamentary Assembly.
The Bureau had previously decided, in September 2011, that PACE committees would not hold any meetings for a period of two years in member states that did not honor their commitments regarding freedom of movement of Assembly members on official trips, particularly in connection with the issue of visas. This provision was applied to Georgia in November 2013.
However, the measure decided today could be lifted by the Bureau if the Azerbaijani authorities guarantee freedom of movement for PACE members in Azerbaijan when travelling on Assembly business.