- NYT’s David Brooks: Obama has ‘manhood problem’ in Middle East
- Ted Cruz thanks Obama for denying visas to terrorists
- Survivors recall chaos, fear in Everest avalanche
- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
- Obamas head to church on Easter morning
Embassy Row: Unreliable sources
U.S. Ambassador Richard Morningstar in Azerbaijan is denouncing state media reports that claimed he praised democratic development in one of the most abusive regions of the former Soviet republic in Central Asia.
The U.S. Embassy in the Azeri capital of Baku issued a blunt statement last week, accusing state media of distorting reports on Mr. Morningstar’s visit to the Nakhchivan region on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
“The ambassador did not make such comments to anyone, and any reports claiming that he did so are not true,” the embassy said of state media coverage that said he praised the progress of democracy during his trip to Nakhchivan.
Contrary to state media, Mr. Morningstar used the visit to highlight the poor quality of democracy and human rights in Nakhchivan and made a point of meeting with human rights activist Malahat Nasibova, the embassy said.
“Ambassador Morningstar met with a wide range of leading governmental and nongovernmental figures during his visit, including human rights activist Malahat Nasibova, whose office he visited in a show of support, and whose important work he praised during his public comments. Ambassador Morningstar also called publicly and privately for an open dialogue between local authorities and human rights defenders such as Ms. Nasibova,” the embassy said.
Elmar Chakhtakhtinski, chairman of the U.S.-based Azerbaijani-Americans for Democracy, said he suspected Azeri President Ilham Aliyev was using the ambassador’s trip for propaganda purposes to enhance the image of his government, which the State Department notes has a poor human rights record.
“It is outrageous that the Azerbaijani official state media wrongly attributes such statements to a U.S. ambassador,” Mr. Chakhtakhtinski told azerireport.com.
“I do not see how a distortion of this magnitude can be an honest mistake on the part of the government media. The Aliyev regime is well-known for its uncivilized propaganda tactics, and now they seem to use the U.S. ambassador’s name in their campaign.”
The embassy was sensitive to the reports about the ambassador’s visit to Nakhchivan after Mr. Morningstar had made a diplomatic blunder by bowing to a statue of Azerbaijan’s late autocratic leader Heydar Aliyev, the father of the current president.
The embassy had insisted that Mr. Morningstar did not bow to the statue shortly after he presented his diplomatic credentials to the current president in September. However, photographs clearly showed him lowering his head after laying flowers at the base of the monument.
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
• Gen. Tom Middendorp, chief of defense of the Netherlands, who meets with Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
• Maj. Gen. Talgat Zhanzhumenov, the deputy defense minister of Kazakhstan, who leads a military delegation for talks with Pentagon officials.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
- Embassy Row: India 'shocked,' 'appalled' by consular officer's arrest
- Embassy Row: Wife of Christian held in Iran feels abandoned by Obama
- Wife of jailed U.S. Christian in Iran calls for White House help
- Most Americans want no Iranian uranium enrichment: poll
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- CHARLES: Holder's undermining of the law deserving of contempt
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- EDITORIAL: More Lerner smoking-gun emails at IRS
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.