Religiously motivated attack on Azerbaijani embassy in London triggers solidarity with Baku
By Fuad Muxtar-Aqbabali
The treacherous and dishonorable attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in London, and the disrespect for the national flag have caused outrage both inside the country and among Azerbaijan's friends abroad, who have shown solidarity with the people of Azerbaijan.
"On August 4, 2022, the embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was attacked by a group of radical religious groups," the Foreign Ministry said.
Storming the embassy building, a group of vandals raised religious flags and chanted radical religious slogans on the balcony of the building. The Metropolitan police of London intervened hours later and the group members were taken out of the building and detained.
"In accordance with the Vienna Convention, through diplomatic channels, the UK authorities were warned about the security of diplomats and diplomatic premises," the Foreign Ministry said in the statement.
The heinous attack against the Azerbaijani embassy in London has triggered tough reactions both inside the country and abroad. Social media users reacted harshly to the incident and came up with various scenarios as to who might be behind the move.
"I was appalled by yesterday's attack on the embassy of Azerbaijan in London," Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Azerbaijan Peter Michalko tweeted.
"Violence against diplomatic missions and their personnel is unacceptable. I am relieved that the embassy staff and their families are safe," he added.
Along with Turkey, one of the leading Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan, with which Azerbaijan has recently bolstered all-out relations, strongly condemned the attack on the Azerbaijani embassy.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan strongly condemns the provocative attack on the embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on August 4, 2022,” the ministry said in a statement.
“We consider absolutely unacceptable any actions that pose a threat to the life and health of members of diplomatic missions.
“We call for a comprehensive investigation into this incident and bringing all those involved to justice," the statement said, adding that “Uzbekistan is expressing its support for brotherly Azerbaijan in ensuring the security and protection of its citizens abroad”.
In a similar vein, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry also denounced the attack against the Azerbaijani embassy in London.
"In connection with the attack of extremists on the embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in London on August 4 this year, we consider unacceptable any manifestation of violence against diplomatic missions and their personnel. Such acts of violation of the foundations and norms of international law are subject to universal condemnation and require a thorough investigation in order to bring their organizers to justice. We are confident in the resilience of the Azerbaijani people and express our readiness to provide all possible support in difficult situations for the fraternal state," the ministry said.
Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili also voiced solidarity and support for Azerbaijan. This came out after Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov tweeted to thank Georgia for siding with Azerbaijan over the attack on the embassy.
“Thankful to (my) colleague from Georgia Ilia Darchiashvili for expressing solidarity and support over a phone conversation on the unprecedented attack by radicals on the embassy of Azerbaijan in London,” Bayramov tweeted.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry condemned the provocation against the Azerbaijani embassy in London on August 4 and Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili called his Azerbaijani colleague Jeyhun Bayramov and expressed his full support over the incident, the report said.
The Spiritual Board of Azerbaijan, the religious body, did not remain indifferent to the attack on the embassy and denounced the UK-based radical group for the storming of the embassy.
"Azerbaijan strongly condemns the act of aggression committed against the building of the embassy in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with a sense of concern and considers it a premeditated, politically motivated act of terrorism and vandalism. This event is an act of provocation against the Republic of Azerbaijan and international law in general. The fact that the radical group The Mahdi Servants Union, which clearly abuses religion, targets the sovereignty and attribute of independent Azerbaijan - the national flag, and that the action is accompanied by religious slogans and sectarian demands can be evaluated as abuse of religion and a call to hatred," the Spiritual Board said.
Another similar move of condemnation came from the Organization of Turkic States (OTS).
"We condemn the violent and unacceptable attack against the Organization of Turkic States’ founding member Azerbaijan’s embassy in London by radical religious groups. We call for a thorough investigation of this act of vandalism,” reads the tweet.
Yesterday's unprovoked attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in the UK by radicals is unacceptable, said an informal cross-party group of MPs and Peers to encourage links between the UK parliament and Azerbaijan (APPG).
"The APPG condemns the attack and is glad that staff at the embassy were unharmed despite the very real threat to their safety. Our thanks also to the police who dealt with the situation," APPG said in a tweet.
In the meantime, Azerbaijan summoned British chargé d'affaires to express "firm objection and demand firm guarantees", the ministry said.
"It was brought to the attention of the other party that this provocation seriously exposed the issue of ensuring the security of the diplomatic mission and that the host country should take security measures in accordance with its international legal obligations. A guarantee was requested from the other side that such situations would not be repeated.
In its turn, the British embassy in Azerbaijan reacted to the incident.
“The UK condemns the actions of those protestors that entered the embassy of Azerbaijan in London and a full investigation is ongoing. The police safely evacuated the embassy staff inside the building and then removed the protesters. Eight individuals have been arrested. The UK takes seriously its commitment to guarantee the protection of diplomatic missions in the UK and police are engaging with the embassy of Azerbaijan to ensure appropriate security measures are in place,” the statement read.
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