Mexico panel rejects Azerbaijan statue

Posted: 11/23/12 at 1:15 pm EST

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- A commission of experts says Mexico City's government should remove a life-size statue of Azerbaijan's former president that was recently erected along the city's main boulevard.

The bronze, Stalinesque statue of Geidar Aliyev was erected by the Azerbaijan embassy, which paid for the renovation of part of the city park where it sits.

Protesters have said they are offended by a monument to an authoritarian figure like Aliyev, who led Azerbaijan first as Communist Party boss during Soviet times and then as president from 1993 to his death in 2003.

Azerbaijan officials have said that removal of the statue could affect diplomatic relations with Mexico.

The committee that reported on Friday had been named by city officials to seek a solution.

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