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Azerbaijani Deputies Condemn Diplomats' Meetings With Opposition

Azerbaijani opposition leader Ali Karimli
Azerbaijani opposition leader Ali Karimli
BAKU -- A group of Azerbaijani parliament deputies today proposed establishing a special committee to probe the activities of foreign diplomats in Baku, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The move came along with criticism by the deputies of the April 8 meeting in the Azerbaijani capital between foreign diplomats and opposition party leaders.

Deputy Farac Quliyev said "In the event that the investigation proves their intention to implement in Azerbaijan the experiments of Arab countries, some of them should be declared persona non grata."

Parliament speaker Oqtay Asadov said he, too, is concerned that foreign embassy officials met with the opposition.

Opposition Umid party chairman Iqbal Agazada was the only deputy who protested the committee's launch. He said an investigation into the activities of the diplomatic corps would be detrimental to Azerbaijan.

The opposition Public Chamber movement is planning another unsanctioned demonstration in central Baku on April 17.

Prosecutor-General Zakir Qaralov warned today that any unauthorized protests will be dispersed.

He specifically called on Ali Karimli, leader of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party, to "respect Azerbaijani laws," and implied that Karimli is acting on orders from a foreign government.

Karimli is scheduled to testify on April 16 in connection with a criminal investigation into an opposition protest in Baku on April 2, which was forcibly dispersed by police.

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