-Nahid bey, pro-governmental mass media spread talks between a woman, opposition politician, and representatives of the diplomatic corps in Azerbaijan. Beyond any doubt, it was the authorities who provided mass media with information on the talks. What was the purpose? What did they mean to attain?
- To tell the truth, it is rather difficult to answer this question. We consider the power as a single actor. Antidemocratic regime of the country notwithstanding, it is made of hundreds and thousands public servants who are entitled to make decisions. However, we do know at what level a decision was made. A decision on tapping of telephone conversations of diplomats may made both by Ilham Aliyev and inferior officials. We are not aware of it exactly, so it is difficult to understand true purposes of the incident.
On the other hand, we are unaware if a conversation between Gultekin Hajibeyli and foreign diplomats was recorded due to tapping or instead, a telephone of diplomats was tapped, so it is difficult to give a straight estimate to the fact. This notwithstanding, the situation may be pictured, not fully though, on the basis of some suppositions.
What is important to notice is that if a tapping decision has been made at the highest level, a conclusion is obvious: we are watching all your agents, we know who, when and what connections are involved. Actions of this kind may generate certain pessimism and fear among politically minded activists. Authorities openly hint that not only you but diplomats as well are under our direct control. In so doing, they are eager to make citizens refuse from political activity. Also, public institutions, including special services, are mobilized to protect not only security of the nation but safety of the regime and the ruling family. Should anybody oppose the regime, all public resources of the state would be mobilized to protect the family. If the decision has been adopted at a lower level, it may be regarded as error at an individual level or demonstration of somebody" loyalty to the regime.
- What do international conventions stipulate in cases like this? What are difficulties Azerbaijan may face with?
- It should be noted that diplomatic relations are primarily regulated by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. Article 27 of the Convention says that a host state shall ensure security of all communication means for official diplomatic activity. In line with this Article, the fact of US Embassy official tapping by the Azerbaijani party is contrary to international obligations of our county. It is talked not only about tapping of the foreign diplomat. To my thinking, many host countries are engaged in tapping open communication lines of diplomatic representations. For this reason, a state that assigns its diplomatic mission abroad should ensure its Embassy with ciphered communication.
An issue to be emphasized here is that sound recording has been made ГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓ± ГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓBBBBBBЇГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓ®ГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓ¤ГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓ"ГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓ®ГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓ© ГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓ¶ГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓBBBBBBҐГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓ"ГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓBBBBBBјГѓBѓBBѓBBBѓBBBBѓBBBBBѓBBBBBBѕ. Note that tapping of personal telephone of Gultekin Hajibeyli is contrary to the law. Information obtained is well-known to everybody, so attempts to qualify it as an extraordinary crime is none other than a primitive approach to the statehood. Suffice it to say that these public institutions are engaged in tapping conversations instead of addressing problems of millions of ordinary people!
It has to be kept in mind that with reference to Article 41 of the same Convention the Azerbaijani party may accuse the American diplomat of interfering in internal affairs of the country. It is quite possible that the Azerbaijani party has already set up a claim over this issue in the course of bilateral meetings. T should be borne in mind that violation of human rights is not an internal affair of the state. This, in turn, forms a legal basis for the US Embassy official to show interest in democratic processes in Azerbaijan and receive appropriate information.
-Events of this sort are not infrequent in Azerbaijan. Suffice it to recall scandals around a conversation recording between Defense Minister Safar Abiyev and US Ambassador Richard Morningstar or between Hajija Ismayil and American Congressmen. However, the Azerbaijani authorities have failed to derive a lesson from developments of this kind. What do they mean to say?
-I"ve already answered your question above. It should be added that public institutions of Azerbaijan are intended to secure regime protection which, in turn, reduces trust in them at the international level. In this case, an investor is unlikely to visit Azerbaijan under no security guarantees of public structures.
- This report has already been withdrawn from YouTube. Some higher authority realized that this step was wrong. What measures are to be taken by the authorities of Azerbaijan to resolve the issue radically? In what way is it possible to correct the error?
- If serious reforms are carried out in the country, trust in public institutions may likely be restored. On the other hand, the authorities are in no position to carry out reforms stated above. I think that the authorities of Azerbaijan are dependent upon the burden of the past. Voluntarism, misappropriated money and rimes of the regime - all these impose restrictions on reform implementation.
-President told the last session that some top officials come out against reforms. What do you think, are those at power really come out against government"s policy or vice versa? Is it a concerted step?
- To tell the truth, I don"t believe in conspiracy of this sort. Yes, there is conflict of interests between some groups and clans inside the regime. In my view, representatives of clans are well aware that if the system tumbles down, all of them are to lose. So it"d be illogic if any clan runs the risk: it is senseless to undermine legitimacy of public institutions.