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U.S. Delegation's Azeri Visit Canceled At Baku's Request

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Melia, seen here in a photo from Baku in April, was leading the U.S. delegation.
BAKU -- A visit by a U.S. delegation to Azerbaijan has been postponed until after the country's October 9 presidential election.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Baku said the visit, which was to have been led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Melia, was postponed at the request of the Azerbaijani government. No reason was given.

The delegation had been expected in Baku from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, on September 9 to observe preparations for the presidential poll.

In Tbilisi, Melia's delegation met with officials to discuss preparations for Georgia's October 27 presidential election. The U.S. Embassy in Baku expressed regret and added that the embassy continues to monitor the preelection environment in Azerbaijan and to encourage a free and fair electoral process.