BAKU (Reuters) – Oil-rich Azerbaijan has left the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) after a prominent international coalition suspended the ex-Soviet country’s membership, the executive director of the Azeri state oil fund SOFAZ said.
EITI is backed by governments, corporations and financial institutions and aims to promote open and accountable management of natural resources.
Azerbaijan considered that decision as “unfair” and left the coalition.
“It is with a deep regret I have to officially announce that Azerbaijan is leaving EITI.”
In 2015, EITI downgraded Azerbaijan to “candidate” from “compliant” country. In October last year, the EITI board said Azerbaijan had made meaningful progress, and retained its candidate status, but added that the country needed to do more to improve transparency, a key international benchmark that makes the country more attractive to foreign investors.
Movsumov said the EITI’s mandate had been “significantly shifted far from transparency and accountability in extractive sectors” and the organization “failed to stick to its original mission and objectives.”
Azerbaijan’s presence in the EITI was important for international investors and banks attracted to its oil and gas sector.
(Reporting and writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Bill Rigby)