Azerbaijan envoy won’t delete tweet threatening to kill EU group

Vaqif Sadıqov, has refused to remove a tweet threatening an EU delegation visiting the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region on Azerbaijan border

NEW DELHI | Updated: 09 August, 2023 11:49 am IST
Vaqif Sadıqov is a diplomat currently serving as Azerbaijan's Ambassador to the European Union and Belgium.

BRUSSELS: Azerbaijan’s chief diplomatic representative to the European Union and Belgium, Vaqif Sadıqov, has refused to remove a tweet threatening an EU delegation visiting the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region on the former Soviet republic’s border.

Sadıqov posted the photo of a gun on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), insinuating that a delegation of EU parliamentarians could have been shot dead had they reached a certain place in the disputed hilly border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The tweet advised the MEPs to “keep clear of the Azerbaijani state border.”

He was later summoned by the European External Action Service (EEAS) to explain the controversial post, but he refused to delete it.

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In recent months, Azerbaijan has faced criticism from Western human rights organizations for maintaining a blockade around 120,000 ethnic Armenians in the disputed Lachin district along the border with Armenia. The district was captured by Azeri forces in 2020 after a border conflict with Armenia. Russian peacekeepers and Western observers remain active in the area amid allegations of biased media representation by the Azeri government regarding the Lachin blockade.

Sadıqov’s tweet was directed at a delegation of MEPs from the European Parliament’s security and defense committee, who were meeting officials from the Armenian foreign ministry during that time.

Nathalie Loiseau, a member of the delegation from the French Renew MEP, condemned Sadıqov and Azerbaijan for directly threatening European officials. She noted that such actions would only strengthen the EU’s resolve to aid the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Although the EU has ruled out sanctions against Azerbaijan, potentially due to strategic gas supplies, it has taken a more assertive stance against Azerbaijan in its rhetoric lately, causing tension with Baku and its ally, Turkey.

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During the European Parliament session, German MEP Lars Patrick Berg raised the matter and questioned whether the Commission regretted last year’s meeting between President von der Leyen and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev. Berg also suggested reconsidering the EU’s relationship with Azerbaijan. He described the tweet as a sign of Azerbaijan’s aggressive attitude. The commission responded by stating that the EEAS had summoned Ambassador Sadıqov and made it clear that such behavior would not be tolerated.

Despite this response from EU officials, Sadıqov’s original tweet remains online with significant engagement. The EEAS has criticized his “unacceptable lack of respect” for EU institutions.

Reports from Nagorno-Karabakh indicate a worsening situation, with medical convoys suspended allegedly due to harassment by Azeri authorities.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has persisted since the fall of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan claims it’s defending Azeris against Armenia’s persecution. Previous mediation attempts by the EU, Russia, and the United States have not yielded a diplomatic solution.

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