BAKU: No questioning of Azeri election outcome despite criticism – U

APA, Azerbaijan
Oct 26 2013

No questioning of Azeri election outcome despite criticism – US envoy

The US ambassador in Baku has said that a critical statement made by
his country does not question the result of the 9 October presidential
vote in Azerbaijan, and Washington looks forward to cooperation.

Richard Morningstar made the remarks in an interview with Baku-based
pro-government APA news agency, video and transcript of which the
agency’s website published on 26 October.

The ambassador was referring to a statement by a senior US official on
10 October that said that the Azerbaijani election fell short of
international standards.

“We stand for out 10 October statement regarding the election. At the
same time, the statement we issued does not question the result of the
election,” he said.

The ambassador said his country looks forward to cooperating with
President Ilham Aliyev and the Azerbaijani government on a number of
issues, including democracy, Azerbaijan’s conflict with Armenia over
breakaway Karabakh, geopolitical issues, the anti-terror fight and
energy and economy diversification.

He also said the USA hopes very much that Azerbaijan will continue to
cooperate with the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human
Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) and that Baku will make moves towards “respectful
preservation of and support for democratic principles and values” in
this country.

BBCM note: A report by OSCE/ODIHR election observers slammed the 9
October vote as “seriously flawed” – an assessment the USA agreed
with. This caused an angry reaction on part of the Azerbaijani
authorities. The country’s Central Electoral Commission even said it
recommended that the government reassess its future corporation with
ODIHR.

Several days later followed a diplomatic fall-out between Azerbaijan
and the USA, which started after a meeting between the country’s
former defence minister, Safar Abiyev, and Morningstar over remarks,
attributed by the ministry’s press service to the ambassador and later
denied by the embassy, that “criticism of the presidential election
results does not affect its outcome. Ilham Aliyev is the winner”.

At the same time, the head of the Azerbaijani Presidential
Administration, Ramiz Mehdiyev, told media that the Washington had
urged Baku to give the opposition candidate, Camil Hasanli, 25 per
cent of the votes in the election and keep 74 to 75 per cent of the
votes – a statement the embassy denied as well.

[Translated from Azeri]

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