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OSCE Won't Monitor Azerbaijani Vote 'Due To Restrictions'

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says it will not monitor Azerbaijan's November parliamentary elections "due to restrictions imposed" by the government in Baku.

The vote is due on November 1.

"The restriction on the number of observers taking part would make it impossible for the mission to carry out effective and credible election observation," the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said in a press release on September 11.

There were no immediate comments from Azeri officials.

Azerbaijan's permanent mission to the OSCE said in August that the country was ready to accept only six long-term and not more than 125 short-term ODIHR observers instead of 30 long-term and 350 short-term international monitors.

Azerbaijan cancelled a visit by a European Commission delegation on September 11 and said it might "review" relations with the EU after the bloc's parliament called on Baku to free investigative journalist and RFE/RL contributor Khadija Ismayilova and several human rights activists, including Leyla Yunus.

Previous elections in the oil-rich nation led by President Ilham Aliyev for the last 12 years have been criticized by international observers.

Based on reporting by Reuters and

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