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Maria Zakharova cracks down on Azerbaijan again

Fri 19 May 2017 | 09:43 GMT

Just ahead of Thursday, May 18, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova again made inappropriate, offensive and harsh statements against official Baku, in particular, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

Oxu.Az reports with reference to haqqin.az that Zakharova called the statements of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry officials in connection with the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on the liquidation of the All-Russia Azerbaijani Congress (VAK) as unappropriate. Spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Hikmet Hajiyev called  the contacts of Azerbaijan with members of the All-Rissia Azerbaijanis Congress natural and stated that he has information about the organization's compliance with the requirements of the Ministry of Justice:

"Naturally, Azerbaijan maintains contacts with the VAK members who are citizens of Russia just like Armenia contacts members of the Union of Armenians of the Russian Federation," Hajiyev told Interfax-Azerbaijan.

"We paid attention to the statement of the spokesman for Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan regarding Russia's domestic policy. There were words about the balance of interethnic relations, the concept of reform, the prospects for intercultural dialogue in our country. We believe such statements are inappropriate," Zakharova said at a briefing in Moscow, responding to Hikmet Hajiyev's statement.

As previously reported, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, at the request of the Ministry of Justice, liquidated the public organization of All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress.

"We were perplexed at the statements made by the press service of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry and published by one local agency about the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to liquidate the All-Russian public organization "All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress" because of numerous violations of the federal legislation," said Zakharova, haqqin.az reports with reference to the official website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

According to Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry paid attention to the statement of spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan regarding the Russian domestic policy, there were words about the "balance of interethnic relations, the concept of reforms and prospects for intercultural dialogue" in Russia:

"We believe such statements are inappropriate. The assessment of the Russian court's decision regarding the Russian public organization as an "unfriendly step" towards Azerbaijan looks strange. It's regrettable that the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan again uses the versions published in a number of media and voices them, especially publicly, about some 'Armenian trace'. We do not need any questionable advice on how to build inter-ethnic relations in our own country. Russia is a multinational democratic state, where everyone's rights are secured and protected regardless of their nationality. We have created all conditions for self-organization and full-fledged activity of cultural and national public associations. In particular, over 260 non-profit organizations represent the interests of Russian citizens of Azerbaijani nationality. The Azerbaijani youth association of Russia, the Union of Azerbaijani Organizations of Russia, the Federal National-Cultural Autonomy of Azerbaijanis of Russia, the World Azerbaijan Cultural Foundation successfully work at the federal level. We are convinced that the statements I have quoted (perhaps not fully thought out) will not damage the Russian-Azerbaijani relations."

It is very characteristic that among the diaspora organizations Zakharova singled out is the Union of Azerbaijani Organizations of Russia - the so-called "Union of Billionaires" - an opposition association that advocated the removal of the current government and lobbies the interests of a single candidate from the opposition, citizen of Russia, screenwriter Rustam Ibragimbekov. Official Baku strongly advocated the dissolution of this organization and recognized the VAK as a single organization reflecting the interests and aspirations of the large Azerbaijani diaspora. However, for some reason Zakharova again decided to oppose the pro-Azerbaijani VAK with the existence of pro-opposition unions in Russia.

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