by Tatevik Shahunyan
Violation of human rights, suppression of democratic freedoms, harassment of civil society in Azerbaijan and collaborating Western NGOs only bring damage to US-Azerbaijani relations, and contradict the interests of the official Baku. This was the leitmotif of the interview of U.S. Ambassador Richard Morningstar in Baku with the Azerbaijani Service of Radio Liberty.
"The U.S. is closely monitoring the human rights situation in Azerbaijan. This is an issue we always raise to the highest level. Hillary Clinton during her visit to Azerbaijan several years ago said that the United States established the deepest relationships with only the most democratic countries. But now the situation is such that we cannot hear each other on the question of democracy. It is clear that we have different attitudes to this issue. We know who we are and what our position is. We believe that human rights are violated and we talk about it. Often the government does not do quite the right thing and we do not understand why this happens," said in particular Morningstar.
According to him, the government argues its actions (human rights violations) with the need to maintain stability and indicates the presence of Azerbaijan in a very dangerous region. Morningstar agrees that Azerbaijan is in a difficult region - between Russia and Iran. "But our position is different. We believe that if the civil society has more opportunities, the stability will be stronger. And we should frankly say that it corresponds to the interests of the government of Azerbaijan.
Once again I want to emphasize that on the issue of democracy and human rights we talk seriously and we will always raise our voice as we did before," said the Ambassador.
Now there is a lot of pressure on the international NGOs working with civil society in Azerbaijan and the Ministries of Taxes and Justice carry out inspections. "We do not understand the reasons for these audits and harassment of working people in these organizations. Relief in this area would also contribute to development," he said.