Why Azerbaijan could be suspended from Council of Europe and what the country doing in response

Wednesday, 24 January 2024

Following Russia, Azerbaijan may also face consequences in the Council of Europe.

Azerbaijan and Council of Europe member states have started exchanging harsh accusations. The process will likely lead to sanctions against Baku. The ongoing process may even result in Azerbaijan's withdrawal or expulsion from the organisation.

Read more in the article by Sergiy Sydorenko, European Pravda editor – Azerbaijan is being pushed out of Europe: how PACE started 'war' against Aliyev according to Russian scenario.

The consideration of sanctions against Azerbaijan began after Baku did not invite PACE observers to the snap presidential elections on 7 February, which Aliyev will undoubtedly win.

Although Azerbaijan, as a member of the organisation, was supposed to do so.

Several MPs from different countries have confirmed to European Pravda that Azerbaijanis flatly refused to negotiate with anyone who tried to reach an agreement with them.

Azerbaijan, on the contrary, looks inclined towards escalating the conflict.

Baku' attempt at "minor punishment" has quickly turned into a full-scale crisis, which may even prevent Azerbaijan's participation in the Council of Europe for the entire 2024.

The head of the Azerbaijani delegation, Samad Seyidov (one of the most experienced PACE members, in the assembly since 2001), on Tuesday came to the meeting of the monitoring committee. They considered complaints about his country but Seyidov did everything possible to alienate as many MPs as possible against Azerbaijan. He accused Europeans, primarily Germans (who initiated the procedure), of corruption, refused his country's commitments and so on.

It looked like he wanted to get the harshest possible decision. And he succeeded if that was the case.

When Seyidov left the hall, the absolute majority of committee members (mainly everyone with rare exceptions) voted to expell Azerbaijanis from the January session altogether. If they do not mend their ways (and they have no intention of doing so), representatives of Azerbaijan will be stripped of PACE membership for the entire 2024.

Such a decision has never been taken at PACE before.

You may ask why Azerbaijan is getting into a conflict. Most likely, it is not about observing the elections. It is just a pretext for both sides to ignite the conflict. The real reason is that Baku does not accept certain Strasbourg decisions. For example, the PACE resolution of October 2023 regarding the recent Karabakh war angered Baku.

As a result, Azerbaijan decided not only to retaliate against PACE and the Council of Europe but also to reconsider its membership in the organisation.

The decision made by the committee is not final. It is essential how they formulate it in the document (which EuroPravda will monitor) and whether it will be approved in the session hall.

PACE has several formal options. Azerbaijan cannot avoid a punishment any longer. The stakes have been raised too high. It is highly likely, however, that Azerbaijan will withdraw from the Council of Europe on its own.

Some are afraid that this could lead to a chain reaction. Although it is entirely possible that the "collapse of the Council of Europe" will be limited to the expulsion of only one state.

The Ukrainian delegation is handling this story without mistakes. We were not among the initiators of stripping Azerbaijan of its powers (Ukrainian MPs left the hall at that moment), and as far as we know, we are not participating in voting on this matter.

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