Recent elections in Azerbaijan failed to meet international standards, but a senior State Department official says the United States will continue working with the Azerbaijani government as they move toward democracy. Daniel Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, made these remarks December 14 during a question-and-answer session following his speech on trans-Atlantic relations at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a nonpartisan policy research center in Washington.
вЂњThese elections were not free and fair, but neither were they a complete joke,вЂќ said Fried. вЂњAnd there is a big difference between elections which are flawed and elections which are a total travesty,вЂќ he added.
вЂњThe government of Azerbaijan has agreed to rerun elections in most if not all of the districts in which the problems were so great that doubt was cast on the actual result,вЂќ Fried said in response to a question from the audience. вЂњIf these elections are rerun fairly, then the government will have gone a long way, but not all the way, in addressing some of the international communityвЂ™s concerns,вЂќ Fried underlined.
вЂњIf the Azerbaijan government invites the OSCE in, вЂ¦ we have to take that into account as well. There are other governments where they have no intention of inviting [outside observers]. They donвЂ™t care about the opinion of the international community,вЂќ state officer underscored.