Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Duke (Prince Andrew) and The Despot (Azerbaijan president Aliyev)

Killing headline in today's Daily Mail following revelations in British media of dodgy connections of Prince Andrew as Britain’s “trade ambassador”. The Independent calls this “dangerous liaisons” “damaging him and the country” that turn “royal asset to national liability”.
Ilham Aliyev: Hardline President of oil-rich Azerbaijan, who in 2009 met Andrew with a view to establishing economic ties with Britain. Aliyev is accused by his opponents of electoral fraud, and has blocked media organisations including the BBC from broadcasting from his country. The Duke met Aliyev again at the Davos economic forum this year, while the Duke is also said to be friendly with his daughters, Leila and Arzu.
But Daily Mail’s headline nails it.

The Duke and The Despot

Revealed: Prince Andrew’s ‘close friendship’ with brutal billionaire dictator accused of torture and corruption

This is despite big oil related British interests in Azerbaijan.

And this is against the backdrop of reports coming from Baku re targeted detentions and torture of youth activists ahead of planned ‘Day of Protest’ in Azerbaijan on 11 March 2011.

*picture via Sky News

1 comment:

artmika said...

British press continues scrutinising local "friends" of Azerbaijan ruling regime:

Andrew is only one of the many friends of Azerbaijan

(London's Evening Standard)

As if UK trade envoy Prince Andrew is not in enough trouble, he is now facing scrutiny over his cosy dinners with Ilham Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan. But it seems unfair to roast only Prince Andrew. Many have extended that hand of friendship to this oil-rich and human rights-poor country on the Caspian Sea. In 2009 former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Azerbaijan, had a private meeting with Aliyev and is thought to have accepted £90,000 for a speaking engagement there. There is a Conservative Friends of Azerbaijan group to foster relations, and the Lib-Dems go one further. Last year the party received £11,500 in donations from The European Azerbaijan Society, an NGO run by LSE-educated Tale Heydarov, which promotes his country’s interests to the world. His wealthy father Kamaladdin Heydarov also runs Azerbaijan’s Emergency Ministry — “widely viewed as a cash cow for Baku’s elite, and the Heydarov family in particular,” as a WikiLeaked US cable put it.A spokesman for The European Azerbaijan Society insists it does not receive any funding from the state of Azerbaijan.