The EU has condemned an apparent threat to members of the European parliament by Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the EU, Vagif Sadigov.
Sadigov, who also serves as the country’s ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, tweeted on 23 June in response to a visit by a delegation of MEPs to Armenia which travelled close to the border with Azerbaijan.
An EU spokesperson told OC Media that they were aware of the tweet.
‘We condemn such behaviour which is totally unacceptable for an Ambassador accredited to the EU’, the spokesperson said.
Sadigov tweeted an image and description of an Azerbaijani-produced sniper rifle with the following caption:
‘They know what they are doing to protect themselves. The Istiglal IST-14.5 anti-materiel sniper rifle produced in Azerbaijan has the effective firing range of about 3,000 m. Guys, keep clear of Azerbaijani state border…’
Nathalie Loiseau, an MEP who chairs the European Parliament’s Security and Defence Subcommittee and who led the delegation to Armenia, reacted angrily to Sadigov’s tweet on Monday.
‘Is this a threat towards Members of the European Parliament? Does it really come from an [Azerbaijani] «diplomat»? To what level has Azerbaijan’s diplomacy fallen?’, she tweeted.
‘Disrespecting an ICJ decision and taking 120,000 human beings hostage, there is nothing to be proud of. Is it what makes you lose your nerves? We, Europeans with strong values, aren’t impressed. We will continue to support peace and respect for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.’
Arif Shahmarli, who served as Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the EU from 2000–2007, and to the Council of Europe from 2006–2012, also condemned Sadigov’s actions.
‘It is ridiculous and unacceptable for an educated and experienced diplomat like Vagif Sadigov to write such a tweet, it is a pity’, Shahmarli told OC Media.
‘Personally, I regret this kind of behaviour, because these kinds of steps will not bring good things to Azerbaijan. On the contrary, it is an action that will be used against Azerbaijan at a time when peace negotiations are ongoing.’
‘The fact that he uses the Azerbaijan-made ISTIGLAL sniper rifle in his rhetoric on Twitter is similar to President Aliyev’s rhetoric, in my opinion’, Shahmarli said. ‘Maybe this was an ordered post.’
‘It seems that Azerbaijani diplomats have already switched to harsh rhetoric’, he added.