Appeal of Elkhan Suleymanov, MP of Azerbaijan to the United States senators

Appeal of Elkhan Suleymanov, MP of Azerbaijan to the United States senators

Hon. Mitch
McConnell Hon.
Harry Reid

Majority
Leader Minority
Leader

United
States Senate United
States Senate

The
Capitol, S-230 The
Capitol, S-221

Washington,
DC 20510 Washington,
DC 20510

Dear Leaders:

In March of this year, I read an article in Roll Call by Congressman Silvestre Reyes, a former Congressman who has made multiple trips to Azerbaijan, most recently serving as an election monitor in 2013. (Please see: http://blogs.rollcall.com/beltway-insiders/azerbaijan-must-remain-a-strong-ally-of-the-united-states/?dcz=) Congressman Reyes has taken the time to study our country and learn a lot about us. We have great respect for him, and his March article describing the importance of Azeri support for the United States is right on point.


 Appeal of Elkhan Suleymanov, MP of Azerbaijan to the United States senators

Hon. Mitch McConnell Hon. Harry Reid

Majority Leader Minority Leader

United States Senate United States Senate

The Capitol, S-230 The Capitol, S-221

Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Leaders:

In March of this year, I read an article in
Roll Call by Congressman Silvestre Reyes, a former Congressman who has made
multiple trips to Azerbaijan, most recently serving as an election monitor in
2013. (Please see: http://blogs.rollcall.com/beltway-insiders/azerbaijan-must-remain-a-strong-ally-of-the-united-states/?dcz=) Congressman Reyes has taken the time to
study our country and learn a lot about us. We have great respect for him, and his March article
describing the importance of Azeri support for the United States is right on
point.

 

Then, in mid-July, my government received a
different kind of letter, signed by 16 Senators and focused on complaints from
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
Very few of these Senators have visited Azerbaijan and we don?t
recognize the signature of any one of them who has made relationships with us a
priority. We would be pleased to
have any of them come and spend some time with us in Azerbaijan, getting to
know us, our culture, and our history, and the various ways we can partner and
work together. You will remember
the importance of our relationships in establishing the BTC pipeline which
serves Israel and Europe, today.
There are more opportunities to partner to mutual advantage.

 

Let me address, if I might, the primary
complaint of RFE/RL as expressed in the Senators? letter. They complain that they are not “Free
and Independent? in our environment.
Our impression is that they are not Free and Independent at all because
they are funded with American government funds, directed at specific
“missions,? under the management of the International Broadcasting Operations
of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, an American Government Agency receiving
about $734,000,000 annually. Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty was established during the Cold War to be an American
propaganda arm broadcasting American government sponsored messages to many parts
of the world with the purpose of weakening target governments. It is our impression that RFE/RL has
not changed, and today, it remains focused on weakening governments chosen by
the United States.It is funded only by the American government. We would be happy to discuss this with
you.

 

It also seems appropriate to express our
concern at some Report Language which has appeared at the Committee level in
your FY16 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill in July. The language instructs the U.S. Department
of State to interfere directly in the governmental processes in my country, and
to report back to the Senate on the results. We find this to be astounding, and very reminiscent of the
Cold War. I ask you to consider
and rethink carefully what you are doing.
We respect and value our relationship with the United States and we hope
that it might move forward in a positive direction.

 

 

In conclusion, we are very proud of the
progress we have made as a nation, independent and democratic, since 1991. We are a donor nation. We are an active and positive member of
many international organizations which move civil society forward. We are enthusiastic at the prospect of
working positively with you.

 

Sincerely,

 

ElkhanSuleymanov,

Member of
Azerbaijan Parliament

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