Ambassador: Azerbaijan, U.S must strengthen strategic partnership

Ambassador: Azerbaijan, U.S must strengthen strategic partnership

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 11

By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:

Oil-rich Azerbaijan is booming and the wealth is trickling down to its poorest
people, Azerbaijani ambassador to the U.S Elin Suleymanov's article posted in Washington Times said.

"Azerbaijan and the United States are partners in addressing the world's most difficult challenges from fighting terrorism internationally to serving shoulder-to-shoulder in Afghanistan and working together to ensure peaceful future for the Afghan people," the ambassador said.

"Our nations also work to together promote Europe's energy security by bringing Caspian natural gas to the European markets through the strategic Southern Gas Corridor, including the recently announced Trans-Adriatic Pipeline," Suleymanov said.

"Azerbaijan, a nation proud of its Muslim heritage, stands as a strong supporter of intercultural dialogue and is a good friend of Israel," the ambassador said.

The incumbent President Aliyev won a landslide victory on Oct. 9.

President Aliyev's victory was universally predicted by an overwhelming majority of pundits as well as by numerous pre-election surveys and polls, according to the article.

"The incumbent president's undisputed advantage over the opposition comes, among other things, as a result of Azerbaijan's rapid social and economic growth - President Aliyev's
steady leadership chartering a pragmatic, independent course in a complicated region of the world," according to the article.

"Any nationwide election with 5.1 million registered voters is never a perfect process," Suleymanov said. "There were likely irregularities and problems, which need to be addressed in accordance with the law."

"Still, the latest election was observed by more than 50,000 observers, including some 1,400 international observers representing 100 countries and 50 international and nongovernmental organizations," Suleymanov said.

"Following the election, most international observers, including the European Union, Council of Europe delegations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observation mission head, described the election as a step forward," according to the article.

"In a stark contrast, the OSCE mission from the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights issued a highly negative report, unfortunately echoed by the U.S. State Department," Suleymanov said. "Interestingly, this controversial assessment of the election is not shared by the Azerbaijani citizens, who spoke loud and clear by voting for President Aliyev."

"Democracies consist of fundamental building blocks, which include pluralism, diversity, tolerance, gender equality and economic opportunities," Suleymanov said. "The Azerbaijani people have established these fundamentals.".

"Today, we should strengthen the strategic U.S.-Azerbaijan partnership and continue
making news by breaking existing convenient stereotypes, not by imposing new ones," he said.

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