State Department Confirms Meetings with Azerbaijani Aide Amid Misconduct Allegations

The Department of State declined to comment on whether allegations of misconduct, nepotism, and misinformation against Azeri Presidential Assistant Hajiyev were discussed during meetings with him. medium.com

 

May 22, 2024

The U.S. State Department responded to a media query by The Azeri Herald regarding embattled Azerbaijani president aide Hikmat Hajiyev’s meeting with high U.S. officials but declined to comment on allegations of misconduct, corruption, and nepotism against him by international as well as some local media outlets.

The Azeri Herald sent inquiries to the State Department Press Office regarding meetings involving Hajiyev and officials such as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and acting undersecretaries. Hajiyev’s history of alleged misconduct, corruption, nepotism, and ties to disinformation campaigns, as reported by Freedom House and French and some Azerbaijani media outlets, casts a shadow over the recent meetings with US officials. He has also made inflammatory anti-US and anti-USAID statements recently.

In its initial response, the State Department confirmed that the meetings with Hajiyev occurred as part of routine diplomatic discussions, stating, “The United States raised key human rights concerns and urged Azerbaijan to swiftly release those unjustly detained. The United States discussed the U.S.-Azerbaijan bilateral relationship and stressed the importance of a durable and dignified peace in the region,” as attributable to a State Department spokesperson, it said.

However, the State Department did not provide details on the objectives or address the specific issues about Hajiyev raised by The Azeri Herald. “We cannot provide any further details as we do not comment on the contents of private diplomatic discussions.”

When pressed again, the State Department responded curtly: “Off the record, we have nothing further on this.”

“The lack of substantive answers is unfortunate,” The Azeri Herald editor stated. “It leaves serious public interest questions unanswered about consistency with U.S. values and policies.”

Several experts emphasize the need for balance and diplomacy in the U.S. relationship with some nations.

They argue that diplomatic engagement cannot be preconditioned on complete alignment of values. According to them it’s about keeping channels open for communication, at least.

Some US diplomats admitted in the past that their standard practice globally is to not negotiate relationships through the media. “They may make judgments case-by-case on how to pursue U.S. interests and values most effectively.”

Despite dissatisfaction with the current responses, The Azeri Herald intends to persist in seeking transparency and accountability from foreign governments and officials dealing with Azerbaijan.

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