Azerbaijan's diplomatic personnel recalled from Sweden, embassy phones ring unanswered
All of Azerbaijan’s diplomatic personnel have been recalled from Stockholm.
According to journalists, Chargé d’affaires Gunash Rustamzade and other embassy officials have temporarily left for Baku. This development is connected to a high-profile corruption scandal in the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Sources state that the diplomatic mission’s doors have closed, and no one is answering the phones in the embassy.
The Azerbaijani Embassy in Sweden is the country’s only diplomatic mission in Scandinavia and also services citizens of Azerbaijan in Finland and Norway.
On 13 August, special forces members arrested former Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan, Eldar Hasanov, the ambassador to Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, who was in Baku at the time.
At the beginning of July of 2020, state security forces conducted an operation within the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, resulting in the arrest of three high-ranking foreign-policy officials. They have been charged with corruption and their trials are still ongoing.
A week later the head of the consular division of the ministry was arrested on similar charges.
On 15 July, during a teleconference with members of the government administration, President Ilham Aliyev harshly criticised the actions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elmar Mammadyarov. This criticism was based on the minister’s absence from duty during the crisis at the Azerbaijan-Armenia border. The next day, Mammadyarov was relieved of his post.