Aberystwyth University in Wales blasted for “caviar diplomacy” after making Azerbaijan connection

A partnership between the Aberystwyth University in Wales and an Azerbaijani academy has been condemned as “caviar diplomacy” by a Welsh MP, The Independent writes.

West Newport’s Labour MP Paul Flynn roundly condemned the decision to partner with the “foul and oppressive regime” of Azerbaijan, claiming: “It’s about propaganda, it is not about education.”

The partnership is a “memorandum of understanding” with the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, a school of international relations established by Azerbaijan ministry of foreign affairs in 2006.

Mr. Flynn told The Independent he was confused by the university’s decision to partner with the academy.

“They say there is no money involved but I am sure it’s favorable for the university,” he said.

As part of the partnership Aberystwyth and the academy signed a formal exchange agreement, hosting students from each country for up to a full academic year.

A spokesperson for Amnesty International said: “Azerbaijan is trying to project an image of a country which respects human rights. But the reality could not be more different.

“Journalists, political and civil society activists are being routinely jailed, threatened and harassed,” he added.

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