BAKU: British MPs’ visit to Upper Garabagh sparks protest action

British MPs’ visit to Upper Garabagh sparks protest action

AzerNews, Azerbaijan
28 Oct. 2004

A delegation of members of the British House of Lords comprising
Vice Speaker, Baroness Caroline Cox and four members of the House
visited Upper Garabagh through Yerevan without prior permission from
the Azeri government last week.

Shortly before the visit, several representatives of the Garabagh
Liberation Organization (GLO) put a black wreath in front of the
British embassy in Baku in protest.

GLO chairman Akif Naghi and his deputy, Garabagh war veteran Firuddin
Mammadov entered the embassy to meet with British Ambassador Laurie
Bristow. They forwarded the organization’s appeal to the embassy’s
spokesman for administrative issues instead, as Ambassador Bristow
was out for dinner.

In the document, the GLO representatives requested the ambassador to
raise the issue related to the illegal visit by British parliament
members to Upper Garabagh with the UK government.

“This hurts the self-esteem of the Azerbaijani people. The British
government must respect Azerbaijan’s national interests and sovereign
rights. Otherwise, there will be no need for the British embassy
in Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijan-UK cooperation in general,” the
appeal says.

On Wednesday, unidentified individuals wrote “Baroness Cox” in black
letters on the memorial to the British military men in Baku.

Commenting on the matter, Foreign Ministry spokesman Matin Mirza said
that the Azeri Embassy in Great Britain, on an instruction of the
Ministry, has appealed to the British Foreign Office and parliament
for an explanation. The British side said in reply that the visit took
place on the personal initiative of Baroness Cox and does not reflect
the position of London, as Great Britain recognizes the territorial
integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.