TODAY.AZ / Politics

President of Azerbaijan accuses the West of applying double standards regarding criticism of the March referendum in Azerbaijan

31 January 2009 [10:25] - TODAY.AZ
"A proposal to scrap a two-term limit on his presidency was aimed
at creating more democracy, not keeping him in power indefinitely", President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said in his interview to Reuters.
President Aliyev accused the West of applying double standards in its criticism of the referendum due in March on whether to scrap the two-term limit.

"You will not find any member of the European Union whose leader cannot be elected as many times as the people want him to be in this position. Is it democratic? Yes. So the same should be applied to Azerbaijan,"

"It is democratic, so if the people support this or that leader they have the right to elect him. So I think lifting the restrictions (on the number of terms) is more democratic than having these restrictions".

"If the criticism is justified and when it comes from a respectable source we are more than ready and willing to discuss it," he said.

"Some of the criticism we sometimes hear from various NGOs actualldoes not bother (us) because this criticism is mainly biased." Aliyev said the West often judged human rights selectively and ignored major violations in countries where it had geopolitical interests. He
mentioned Armenia as an example. "The situation with human rights in Azerbaijan is not bad. If you look at our region you will see that countries in our neighbourhood who brutally violate the elementary human rights of their people have not become the subject of criticism." "Sometimes those countries that are considered to be more friendly or more close or more, how to say it, more associated with the West, if they do something wrong it is not noticed." "But if Azerbaijan, which is also friendly to the West but which pursues its own independent policy, does one percent of what those other countries do then we immediately become a subject of criticism.


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