Azerbaijani exile drafts in Foresight for election bid

The exiled leader of Azerbaijani opposition party ADP, Rasul Guliyev, is using Foresight Communications to garner international support ahead of the country’s elections next month.

Guliyev this Monday tried to enter the capital Baku, flying from London by private jet, but was arrested after being diverted to Ukraine. He has been in exile for nine years following charges that he embezzled £70m while a senior minister in the Azerbaijani government. As an election candidate he has fought for immunity to stand and denies the charges.

Former British United Nations commanding officer Bob Stewart – nicknamed 'Bosnia Bob' for his UN role in the country – has joined Foresight for the project as a consultant.

Stewart accompanied Guliyev for the flight from London and remained in Ukraine on the day of the arrest to handle media

Foresight MD Mark Adams said: 'We are fighting on the basis that he should be allowed to stand in a fair election and let the Azerbaijani people decide.'

The agency will work with Guliyev and the Azerbaijan Democratic Party at least until the election. Its services were recommended to Guliyev by an undisclosed source. 

Foresight's brief focuses on London, as Britain currently holds the EU presidency and has strong economic ties with oil-rich Azerbaijan.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe also has a strong presence in London. It has expressed concerns about the fairness of the Azerbaijani presidential elections in 2003 and the upcoming vote.

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