US to continue working with the Azerbaijani government вЂ" state officer

Politics Materials 16 December 2005 15:14 (UTC +04:00)

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.

“These elections were not free and fair, but neither were they a complete joke,” said Fried. “And there is a big difference between elections which are flawed and elections which are a total travesty,” he added.

“The 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,” Fried said in response to a question from the audience. “If 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 community’s concerns,” Fried underlined.

“If the Azerbaijan government invites the OSCE in, … we have to take that into account as well. There are other governments where they have no intention of inviting [outside observers]. They don’t care about the opinion of the international community,” state officer underscored.