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U.S. Looking To 'Engage Constructively' With Azerbaijan

  • RFE/RL

The United States wants to engage with Azerbaijan "more vigorously" and at higher levels, a top State Department official said on January 12.

Thomas Melia, who is Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, said at a National Endowment for Democracy event that the United States is "looking for a way to engage constructively with our partners in the government of Azerbaijan."

At the same time, Melia said the United States "will continue to support the independent voices that are seeking to move their country more briskly into the modern democratic world."

The comments came amid what Western officials and human rights activists describe as a crackdown on critics of the government in the oil-rich Caspian nation.

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