Baku, July 30, AZERTAC
Mayor of the French town of Altkirch, Jean-Luc Reitzer, has criticized a smear campaign carried out against Azerbaijan ahead of the first European Games in Baku.
In his article published by French "Le Trombinoscope" magazine, French MP, vice-president of the France-Azerbaijan Friendship Group Reitzer said he was especially disappointed by intolerance the French media demonstrated during the broadcasting of the first European Games.
The Mayor said: "We can`t ignore the fact that Azerbaijan has been a member of the Council of Europe since 2001, as well as part of the European Union`s Eastern Partnership initiative and the OSCE.”
“A campaign aimed at exerting pressure on Azerbaijan, is certainly not a good instrument to punish a country which is a castle of stability for the region,” said Reitzer, describing Azerbaijan as a “predominantly Muslim, secular and religiously tolerant Southern Caucasus country, where men and women enjoy equal rights”.
He applauded the Azerbaijani government`s social reforms, saying the country managed to considerably reduce poverty level to 4.9%.
The Altkirch Mayor said Azerbaijan excellently organized the inaugural European Games. “Azerbaijan has once again demonstrated that despite being surrounded by Russia, Iran and Turkey, it is the key regional player.”