Baku Calls on U.S. Senators to Rethink Stance on "Strong Ally" Azerbaijan

Aug 12, 2015, 01:46 ET from Azerbaijan Monitor

BAKU, Azerbaijan, August 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

A group of American Senators have been invited to visit Azerbaijan so that they can rethink their criticism of a strong and valuable ally to the United States in such a volatile region.

In a recent letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid, Azerbaijan MP Elkhan Suleymanov addressed criticism of Baku contained in the 2016 Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, which, Suleymanov said, is "astounding and very reminiscent of the Cold War".

"I ask you to consider and rethink carefully what you are doing," he wrote.

He challenged a group of Senators who have rushed to defend Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the American propaganda outlet originally set up to broadcast behind the iron curtain at the height of the cold war.

The senators had earlier complained that RFE/RL is not "free and independent" in Azerbaijan, to which Suleymanov countered that it is not free and independent by definition, given its politicised history and long-time focus "on weakening governments chosen by the United States".

The first step to correcting such opinions on Azerbaijan, wrote Suleymanov, would be for the U.S. Senators concerned to visit his nation.

"We would be pleased to have any of them (Senators) come and spend some time with us in Azerbaijan, getting to know us, our culture, and our history, and the various ways we can partner and work together," he wrote.

Suleymanov quoted from Congressmen Silvestre Reyes, who has made many visits to Azerbaijan. Earlier this year Reyes implored his colleagues on Capitol Hill to continue working with such a "consistent and reliable partner for the United States".

Of Reyes work Suleymanov said: "Congressman Reyes has taken the time to study our country and learn a lot about us.  We have great respect for him."

Suleymanov believes greater interaction between Azerbaijani and American political circles is key to correcting ill-formed conclusions about his nation. He noted that Azerbaijan has made a lot of progress since it became an independent and democratic country in 1991, that it is a donor nation and an active and positive member of many international organisations. "We respect and value our relationship with the United States," he said.

He concluded by reassuring McConnell and Reid that he remains enthusiastic about working with the U.S. in the future.


SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor