TODAY.AZ / Politics

Actions of Azeri authorities are approved on Friday and condemned on Saturday by US officials

03 December 2005 [19:23] - TODAY.AZ
United States are condemning the use of force against peaceful protestors in Azerbaijan but at the same time is pleased by the attempts of President Ilham Aliyev and his government to address shortcomings in recent parliamentary elections, reads a statement by the US Department of State.

The United States believe that the November 6 parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan showed "improvement over previous elections in some areas", however, the US government shares the view of international observers that the elections did not meet a number of international standards.

Ambassador Finley, the permanent U.S. representative to the OSCE, described what happened: "Police rushed into the square where the demonstrators were rallying, wielded truncheons and turned water cannons against them," she said.

However, in her remarks to the OSCE Permanent Council, Finley, also noted some positive post-election developments: "My Government was encouraged by the response of President Aliyev and his government as they began to address flaws in the election process and respond to the findings in the report of the International Election Observation Mission," she said. As positive examples, she cited the annulling of results in four constituencies and the promise to rerun those elections at a future date; the overturning of two results in favor of opposition candidates; the firing of three local government officials for election interference; and the opening of at least 15 criminal cases by the Prosecutor General.

"The United States were very disappointed and very perplexed when the police used excessive force against peaceful supporters of the opposition "Azadliq" bloc in Baku, who were exercising their right to freedom of assembly on November 26," the US diplomat Finley said.

"The United States strongly condemns this unjustified and unprovoked use of force. It contravened citizens' rights to freedom of expression and assembly and violated core OSCE principles. We urge the government to investigate the incidents and punish those responsible," said Finley.



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