Azeri Ambassador threatens Mexico City government
MEXICO CITY—A three-person panel appointed to investigate the erection of a statue of the late Azeri President Haydar Aliyev in the city’s Reforma Boulevard on Friday announced its recommendation that the statue be removed, reported the Los Angeles Times.
The city government’s decision to allow Azerbaijan to erect a monument memorializing Aliyev had raised controversy in Mexico, with Mexicans complaining that the elder Aliyev’s tarnished record on human rights violations should not be awarded by displaying his image.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Azerbaijan paid as much as $10 million to erect the statue, clean up the section of the park where it sits and make similar repairs at a second site downtown.
Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Mexico, Ilgar Mukhtarov, was quoted in a Mexico City newspaper, La Razon, threatening to break diplomatic relations with Mexico if the statue is removed. Muktarov also said Azerbaijan would cancel $4 billion in investment projects for Mexico.
Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, for whom the entire episode has been a major embarrassment, said he would study the recommendations, according to Los Angeles Times.
“If Ebrard decides to remove the monument, we will cancel the projects, close the embassy, it would hurt the relationship between the two countries, and it would not be good for his image to be the person who prevented a $4-billion investment,” the ambassador was quoted as saying.
“However, he later sounded a much more conciliatory note. Meeting with reporters at the Azerbaijan Embassy, Mukhtarov said his government was prepared to negotiate with the city and find a “friendly” solution to the dispute,” reported the Los Angeles Times.