Mehdiyev confirmed audit of Western NGOs in Azerbaijan

The head of the presidential administration Ramiz Mehdiyev accused the U.S. ambassador in Baku Richard Moringstara of meddling in internal affairs.

He called the interview of the ambassador with the Azerbaijani Service of Radio Liberty, in which Morningstar said that if Azerbaijan continues to oppress the civil society, events like those on the Maidan of Independence are inevitable, "tendentious".

"Indeed, biased interviews by the U.S. Ambassador to the background of aggravated geopolitical processes in the world, including the former Soviet Union, largely because of the West, are at least, puzzling. I hesitate to say, though, what the motives and reasons prompted him to give such an interview and voice such incorrect thoughts in terms of diplomatic etiquette. It was a gross interference in the internal affairs of the country. In any case, this is not and cannot be justified," said Mehdiyev.

He also blamed the ambassador for provocation.

"Such statements are nothing but pure provocation. Azerbaijan supports and will always support good relations with its neighbors, regardless of the wishes of the third forces," said Mehdiyev, commenting the ambassador’s words that the U.S. is the guarantor of the independence of Azerbaijan.

Mehdiyev said that "Azerbaijan's foreign policy is based on good-neighborly and peaceful relations with neighboring countries. We do not interfere in their internal affairs and we require the same attitude to us." "As for Russia, the country is our nearest neighbor and the relationship with it has always been a singular vector in the foreign policy of Azerbaijan. Between our countries there is understanding and there are not any unresolved issues except only the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. All issues are resolved only through negotiations and equal dialogue. It would be biased to assume that between Russia and Azerbaijan at the moment there is some tension. Although certain forces both inside and outside not once made attempts to damage relations between Azerbaijan and Russia. But thanks to the wisdom and mutual trust of the two heads of states, such provocations were not successful," said Mehdiyev.

He also accused the West of the overthrow of President Yanukovych in Ukraine.

"The active involvement of the West in the tragic processes of Maidan is obvious. Western officials openly provoked destructive forces to make unlawful actions, participated in the protests taking place in Kiev against the legitimate authority, supported the protesters and threatened sanctions against the then President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. It is no coincidence…The State Department spokesman V. Nuland stated that the U.S. government since 1991 spent $5 billion on democratic processes in Ukraine. But experience shows that in most cases the money is spent on the formation of destructive forces. No one doubts the scale of the disaster caused by the NGOs financed by the West and the nationalist forces in Ukraine," said Mehdiyev.

He also said the United States prepared similar processes in Azerbaijan.

"For comparison, I want to say that at different times we also received information, according to which certain forces made attempts to implement a similar scenario in our country. According to experts and analysts, the “Facebook revolution” in the spring of 2013 was spent over $ 3 million," said Mehdiyev.

Mehdiyev disagreed with the criticism of corruption.

He referred to Transparency International, according to recent studies of which, 68 percent of the population considers effective measures taken in the fight against corruption.

Interestingly, the pro-government Azerbaijani MPs have recently expressed dissatisfaction with reports by Transparency International and severely blamed its local branch.

At the same time Mehdiyev expressed doubts about the transparency of local NGOs collaborating with western partners and the international NGOs themselves.

He confirmed audits in a number of Western NGOs, including American ones, by officials of the Ministry of Justice and Taxes.

According to him, branches and representative offices of non-governmental organizations of the U.S. in Azerbaijan, such as IREX, ABA, NDI, Revenue Watch Institute, USAID, and NED between 2003-2013 years allocated to local NGOs grants totaling approximately $ 25 million.

In addition, since 1996, it is estimated, the Soros Foundation and related organizations allocated Azerbaijani NGOs about $ 50 million. Although the Fund officially suspended its operation in our country still in 2012, its funding for the NGO sector has not stopped. It continues to provide funding through affiliated organizations. "I want to remind you that the reason for the suspension of the Soros Foundation - Foundation Open Society Institute Assistance was not relationship with the government, but corruption scandals involving money allocated to local NGOs. And the initiators of this action were local NGOs serving the interests of radical opposition parties. To hush up the scandal, the head office of the Fund was forced to take this step. This is just the tip of the iceberg," said Mehdiyev.

Note that yesterday the pro-government media reported that Morningstar was called to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry and he was expressed a protest against his interference in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan. However, later the same media denied the information.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry did not comment on these reports. -06d-

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