What conclusions should be drawn from the words of the US Ambassador?

US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Mark Libby, recently addressed the pressing issues surrounding the arrests of journalists and civil society activists in Azerbaijan during a session with local journalists. Highlighting a call between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Libby emphasized continued US advocacy for human rights and the support of independent media within the country.

This dialogue comes amid Azerbaijani authorities characterizing the arrests of journalists and activists as cases of "money smuggling," involving funds from Western nations, including the US. This characterization has led to speculation about whether these actions might represent an indirect confrontation with the US. In response, Ambassador Libby maintained that the US operates transparently, and any grievances should be addressed to Azerbaijani officials.

Furthermore, when probed about potential US sanctions against Azerbaijani officials—a proposal stemming not from the US administration but from Congress—Libby did not speculate on the initiative’s origin or implications. However, he suggested that improving human rights could forestall such measures, underlining the connection between internal policies and international diplomatic relations.

In an environment where Azerbaijan has initiated criminal proceedings against participants in projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), questions about the legality and agreement on these grants have arisen. Libby clarified that the US side had adhered to legal frameworks, hinting at possible shifts in policy by the Azerbaijani government to suppress independent media by labeling it as financial misconduct.

The ambassador also commented on Azerbaijan's foreign relations, particularly its warmer ties with Moscow compared to Washington. He highlighted the risks associated with close ties to Russia, citing its aggressive actions in regions like Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Syria, and implied that such an alliance could be counterproductive for Azerbaijan's sovereignty.

Seymour Khazi, deputy chairman of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), interpreted the ambassador's statements in the "Difficult Question" program as evidence of the delicate position of the United States and the wider Western community regarding press freedom. He argued that the discussion of sanctions by various US political circles was due to human rights violations, which deteriorate Azerbaijan’s international relations. Khazi echoed the ambassador’s implications that true sovereignty for Azerbaijan hinges on aligning more closely with Western allies rather than Russia.

 

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Difficult question

İran Prezidentinin həlak olduğu hadisə Azərbaycan- İran münasibətlərinə təsir edə bilərmi? – Nəsimi Məmmədli Çətin sualda



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