Baku Threatens to Arrest Merkel Delegation Member
Ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Azerbaijan this week, official Baku has threatened to arrest a member of the German leader’s delegation, Albert Weiler, whose visa application was rejected because he has been place on Baku’s notorious blacklist for having visited Artsakh.
Weiler, who is a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and the deputy chairman of the parliament’s commission on South Caucasus relations and the chair of the German-Armenian Forum, was scheduled to accompany Merkel on her visits to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia.
Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hikmat Hajiyev said that because of Weiler’s 2014 and 2016 visits to Artsakh, which he called “an occupied territories of Azerbaijan” he would not be granted an entry visa, and, furthermore, he might be arrested if he attempts to enter the country with the chancellor’s delegation.
The German government has been in negotiations with the Azerbaijani Embassy in Berlin to no avail. Nevertheless, the Chancellor’s spokesperson indicated that Merkel would travel to Baku as scheduled.
A spokesperson for the Germen government, Steffen Seibert said on Tuesday that Merkel would address the issue during her visit to Baku and meetings with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and expressed Berlin’s regrets for Baku’s decision to ban Weiler’s entry into the country.
“From the German government’s point of view, the Azerbaijani government’s position causes regret and is not on par with the level of the dialogue on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. The chancellor is willing to discuss this with President Aliyev,” Seibert told reporters.
Seibert added that the Azerbaijani government refused to change its decision, even though “a series of talks” had been held.
“The chancellor has talked to parliament member Weiler; she appreciates his work in the South Caucasus region … She agreed that … it was important and it made sense to visit Azerbaijan, including for the purpose of discussing this, as well as other conflicts and problems in the region, with the Azerbaijani government,” Seibert said.
According to Seibert, Weiler will accompany Merkel during her trips to Georgia and Armenia.
Merkel’s trip to the Caucasus will kick off on Thursday with a stop in Tbilisi. She will then visit Armenia on Friday. She is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to discuss furthering European Union-Armenia relations. The peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict will also be on the agenda of visit, which will conclude Saturday with her visit to Baku, where she is expected to discuss the Weiler issue as well as explore energy imports to Germany and the EU.
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