OFFICIAL CHIDES WATCHDOG'S REPORT AS PRO-ARMENIAN

Assa-Irada, Azerbaijan
May 1 2006

Baku, April 28, AssA-Irada
The head of the President's Office socio-political department
Ali Hasanov is expected to meet the Baku representatives of the
international organization Human Rights Watch following the publication
of its report criticizing the country's human rights record.

Human Rights Watch reportedly urged US President George Bush to
put pressure on the visiting counterpart Ilham Aliyev over what it
described as Azerbaijan's poor democratic development record.

Hasanov has told AssA-Irada that the Azerbaijani government had always
treated the organization's evaluations seriously and attempts had
been made to discuss its reports pertaining to Azerbaijan.

"However, we have to acknowledge that the assessments Human Rights
Watch has been giving to the situation in the South Caucasus over the
past several years have not always been based on objective facts. We
know only too well the situation in Armenia and the relationship
between the authorities and opposition there. If you remember, the
core of the Armenian opposition were gunned down in parliament.

Despite this, the said organization portrays Armenia as the most
democratic country in the South Caucasus," Hasanov said and added that
this was why the decision had been made to talk to representatives
of the group.

The official added that HRW does not have any clout on US foreign
policy, which is determined by official institutions of the state.

And these, he said, are represented by the US embassy in Azerbaijan.

He went on to say that the group's assessments may to some extent
affect US public opinion.

"We don't want the American people to develop a negative opinion about
Azerbaijan and intend to pay attention to the analyses of Human Rights
Watch," Hasanov said.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress