Baku, Azerbaijan, June 20
The Guardian has published a letter of Azerbaijani ambassador to UK, Tahir Taghizadeh's letter, where he condemns the flow of baseless allegations concerning non-sports issues by human rights groups and the media towards Azerbaijan.
"On 12 June, my country welcomed more than 6,000 athletes from all over Europe to compete in this new multi-sports event. This is a great occasion for people in Azerbaijan and Europe to join in the celebrations of the universal ideals of sport in a relatively new member of the European community of nations," Taghizadeh said in his letter to the Guardian.
"By hosting the first pan-European games, Azerbaijan has shouldered responsibility to set the highest possible standards for the next games."
"I would like to make it clear that Azerbaijan is determined to pursue its strategic course that aims to build a vibrant civil society and strong democracy," said the ambassador's letter. "Not because we want to please our critics, but because it is a choice consciously made in line with the interests of Azerbaijan."
Taghizadeh says in his letter that over the last several days there have been harsh and unethical language used in relation to Azerbaijan and its head of state.
"I condemn the media’s choice of scornful and disrespectful expressions used in connection with my country," the ambassador's letter said.
Taghizadeh further touched upon an issue of the Guardian's correspondent not being given accreditation for the European Games in Baku.
"When it comes to specific allegations, such as the refusal to accredit the sports correspondent of the Guardian (Report, 12 June), I have to underline the need to respect internal accreditation procedures of the Baku 2015 organising committee," the ambassador said.
Taghizadeh said that each press accreditation application is considered separately and there are specific clearance criteria that need to be met before an issuance of press accreditation.
The ambassador also said that unfortunately, Azerbaijan's suggestion to Amnesty International to postpone its mission to Baku to a later date has been conveyed to the media as barring AI from entering Azerbaijan (Report 11 June).
"It goes without saying that for the mission to engage with government officials at a time when the country hosts such a large scale sports event is effectively impossible, both time-wise and logistics-wise," Taghizadeh said in his letter.
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