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Azerbaijan Won’t Have Egyptian-Style Protests, Aliyev Says

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said Egyptian-style protests like the ones that brought down leader Hosni Mubarak a year ago cannot be replicated in Azerbaijan.

“You will not see in Azerbaijan what you have seen in Egypt no matter how you wish it,” Aliyev said in English during a panel discussion in Munich on Feb. 3. He was answering a participant who likened Azerbaijan to Mubarak’s Egypt. Aliyev’s remarks were posted on his website late yesterday.

“We have a multiparty system with more than 10 parties in our parliament,” Aliyev said. “We have free press. We have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Finally, we have free Internet.”

Aliyev said Azerbaijan’s economy tripled during his eight years in office. Poverty was cut to 7.6 percent from almost 50 percent. The government created more than 1 million jobs. Azerbaijan’s foreign debt is as low as 6 percent of its gross domestic product, Aliyev said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zulfugar Agayev in Baku at zagayev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hellmuth Tromm at htromm@bloomberg.net

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