March 25, 2013
The explanation provided by
for interrupting and then barring an Azerbaijani delegate from speaking while addressing the Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
(PACE) last week, was dismissed as "beyond reality."
was silenced by Herkel, the Chairman of the PACE Monitoring Committee, when discussing the return to power of Armenian President
, calling the recent election "illegitimate" due to Sargsyan's links to the massacre in the Azerbaijani town of Khojali on
, 1992, and because of
continued occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh that has displaced one million Azerbaijanis.
In an interview with the news agency Turan, Herkel explained that he interrupted the speech of Suleymanov not because of the content but to observe the regulations. Herkel claims that only two minutes were left till the end of the meeting, yet four speakers remained, including Suleymanov.
"I asked him to conclude within two minutes," Herkel said, adding, "He couldn't complete his speech and, as a chairperson, I had to stop him."
Suleymanov rejected the excuse, saying, "The information by Mr. Herkel regarding the incident at the meeting of the PACE Monitoring Committee of 20
March is beyond reality."
He pointed out that Herkel first interrupted him at a minute and 40 seconds into his speech and again at two minutes, when Suleymanov informed Committee members about Sargsyan's acknowledged participation in the Khojali massacre.
He stressed that he had provided Herkel and the Committee Secretariat with his speech three days before the event and noted that only little time was allocated to speakers on the subject of presidential elections in
, while other delegates were allowed to speak for up to 40 minutes on other issues.
"Interestingly, Mr. Herkel did not limit me to speak for 15 minutes during the discussion of the 'recent situation in
' at the same meeting. I thank him for this. Then why does he interrupt my speech on
under the pretext of regulations?"
Suleymanov concluded that the incident at the Committee meeting was not a coincidence, instead aimed at concealing the failure of the Armenian elections to meet the principles of democracy and the rule of law.