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Mr. Morningstar, a political appointee and a major Democratic Party campaign contributor, is a former CEO for the CoStar commercial real estate corporation. He served in the Clinton administration as ambassador to the European Union and as a special adviser on the European and Eurasian countries that gained independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He was also as a special adviser to President Clinton on Caspian Sea oil issues, and promoted the construction of an oil pipeline from the Azeri capital of Baku to the Turkish city of Ceyhan.

In remarks last week after arriving in Baku, Mr. Morningstar noted that he has been traveling to Azerbaijan since 1995.

“I can remember fondly my many visits with President Heydar Aliyev and, in recent years, with President Ilham Aliyev,” he said.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email jmorrison@washingtontimes.com. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.