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U.S. Diplomat Seeks Progress On U.S. Broadcasts In Azerbaijan

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Phillip Gordon

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Phillip Gordon

BAKU -- Philippe Gordon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasian affairs, met with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and civil society groups in Baku, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Gordon said holding a "democracy dialogue" with Azerbaijan is important for the United States and the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. He said that "when countries are free they benefit, as it is easier for them to be partners of the United States and the West, and we want Azerbaijan to be a close partner of the U.S."

Gordon said the U.S. administration is keen to move forward on the issue of U.S. radio broadcasts on local frequencies, as the Azerbaijani government ended all RFE/RL and Voice of America broadcasts on FM stations on January 1.

The U.S. government has proposed an intergovernmental agreement that would allow Azerbaijani and U.S. broadcasts in both countries.

Gordon said there is no need for an alternative plan to convince the Azerbaijani government to resume broadcasts on FM.

Gordon will leave Baku today and will not meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.