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Tajikistan

Nominee For U.S. Envoy To Tajikistan Says Promoting Rights A Priority

Susan Marsh Elliott (file photo)Susan Marsh Elliott (file photo)
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Susan Marsh Elliott (file photo)
Susan Marsh Elliott (file photo)
By RFE/RL
WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee for ambassador to Tajikistan has told lawmakers that promoting human rights and helping strengthen Dushanbe's support for Afghanistan will top her agenda if confirmed.

Susan Marsh Elliott, a career diplomat and current deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 6 that she would encourage the Tajik government to take "concrete steps" on their troubling rights record.

Elliott acknowledged that pushing Dushanbe on rights would have to be balanced with strategic priorities in Afghanistan, which Tajikistan supports as a Northern Distribution network country.

She also expressed confidence that Tajikistan would come into compliance with U.S. sanctions on Iran and vowed to advance that goal.

Elliott's nomination must be approved by the committee and then the full Senate.
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by: Tahmina from: Vilnius
June 09, 2012 04:45
Perhaps H.E. Ambassador Marsh Eliott should hold on to her horses and comment on Tajikistan's affairs only after she has spent a few months in the country. Though few of the open-minded would disagree on the need to improve the human rights situation in the country, no one is fooled to think she will really follow up on that promise given that the U.S. would be wanting Tajikistan’s cooperation on taking supplies to the decade-long war in the south. Thus the Ambassador’s first objective is already in direct collision with the U.S.’s second “strategic priority” in Tajikistan: Afghanistan. Most likely she will do as others in the past, put out a general report on human rights with no specifics, lots of criticism and zero follow-up just to satisfy the minority doves in Washington. On the Iran sanctions issue, best is for the Ambassador to first take a survey of government and public opinion in Tajikistan: No exaggeration here to posit that 99.9% of the public and government officials are against any form of sanctions on Iran. But perhaps we can make a deal here with the respected Ambassador: Tajikistan could agree on the sanction demand on Iran, for that country’s obvious rights violations and nuclear ambitions if the good Ambassador would promise to convince her superiors in Washington to also impose sanctions on similarly vicious rights violators in Asia (Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, just to name a few) and also to impose sanctions on nuclear armed regimes in the region (Pakistan, India, Israel). Would that be a fair deal, Ms. Ambassador?

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