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Brussels, 18 April 2011

Statement by the spokesperson of Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle

The spokesperson of the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle today issued the following statement:

"We are increasingly concerned about the domestic developments in the Republic of Azerbaijan regarding freedom of assembly and expression. Several new incidents of arrests by the authorities have taken place in response to peaceful demonstrations. Reportedly there have been several cases of protesters subjected to administrative detention as well as criminal cases pressed against the organisers. This happened in a context of escalating pressures on journalists, youth and political activists as well as international NGO involved in human right issues.

We encourage the Azerbaijani authorities to allow the peaceful demonstrations to take place in relevant locations and call on the country to fully respect its OSCE and Council of Europe commitments in the fields of democracy and human rights.

We remain open to dialogue with all parties and willing to engage with Azerbaijani authorities to constructively support their efforts in this area."

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