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Baku Decries Russian Court's Closure Of Azerbaijani Diaspora Group

The facade of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in Moscow

Azerbaijani officials and legislators on May 16 decried a decision by Russia's Supreme Court to shut down a group representing more than 2 million Azerbaijanis living in Russia.

Baku's foreign ministry called the ruling cancelling the registration of the All-Russia Azerbaijani Congress "discriminatory," while the Azerbaijani State Committee on Work with the Diaspora said it would ask for reconsideration of the ruling, which it said harms the "centuries-old friendly relations of our peoples."

Fazil Gurbanov, president of the group, appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene in the case.

The Congress group was established in 2001 by Putin and Azerbaijani leader Heydar Aliyev, and has played a big role in the deepening of economic and cultural ties between the countries.

The Russian court nullified the group's registration following a lawsuit brought by the Russian Justice Ministry alleging violations of Russia's registration law.

The Azerbaijani Parliament on May 16 debated what recourse is available to Baku, with legislators saying they would investigate the matter.

"We know that in Russia there are some people who don't like Azerbaijan, and it is not a secret," said legislator Bahar Muradova.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax