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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06BAKU585 2006-04-17 09:06:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Baku
Cable title:  

AZERBAIJAN'S POPULAR FRONT PARTY CHAIRMAN URGES

Tags:   PHUM KDEM PGOV PREL PINR AJ 
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VZCZCXRO4813
PP RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHKB #0585 1070906
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 170906Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY BAKU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0164
INFO RUCNOSC/ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY COOPERATION IN EUROPE
					  UNCLAS BAKU 000585 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KDEM PGOV PREL PINR AJ
SUBJECT: AZERBAIJAN'S POPULAR FRONT PARTY CHAIRMAN URGES
HIGHER USG ENGAGEMENT ON DEMOCRATIZATION


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.



1. (SBU) During an April 10 farewell call on Popular Front
Party (PFP) Chairman Ali Kerimli, Ambassador reiterated USG
plans for encouraging further democratic development in
Azerbaijan and urged Kerimli (whose party is not
participating in the May rerun elections) to remain engaged
in the process. Ambassador said that the USG would be
actively engaged in strengthening civil society, Parliament,
respect for human rights, and elections. He noted that the
USG together with Azerbaijanis had achieved solid gains
during the 2005 election campaign, such as finger inking,
exit polling, and removal of the ban on domestic observer
registration as an organization, and would continue to push
on future human rights concerns.



2. (SBU) Kerimli thanked the Ambassador for his efforts and
acknowledged that democratic change is primarily dependent
upon domestic participation. However, he expressed dismay
that the Ambassador had not been able to accomplish more.
Overall he was disappointed with the results of the
parliamentary elections. Kerimli asked the Ambassador to
urge higher-level USG engagement to further push the GOAJ on
democratization and respect for human rights. He
specifically asked that President Bush deliver a democracy
message to President Aliyev in Washington. Ambassador
acknowledged that democracy was an important part of
President Bush's foreign policy agenda and reminded Kerimli
of the high-level engagement by the USG, including key visits
by Under Secretary Dobriansky, the Senate Foreign Relations
Chairman, and other senior administration and Congressional
officials.



3. (SBU) Acknowledging the USG's activism on the May 13
parliamentary reruns, Kerimli nevertheless pointed out that
the election campaign was quiet to date, a sign he said that
indicated people had lost faith in the electoral system and
in democratization. He said that serious efforts must be
undertaken to restore this faith and to restore the people's
expectations of the USG. Ambassador responded that the USG
was actively involved in both election programming and in
pushing the GOAJ for a free and fair election in May, but
also pointed out that USG programming has been addressing the
very issue of citizen trust in the process. He noted civil
society and community development programming, but also noted
that political activists must continue engagement in the
process and spur activism by appealing to average citizens.
The USG can only help open the door to further
democratization, he said; local activists must take the steps
to walk through it. Kerimli seemingly acknowledged the
Ambassador's point, but responded that it was not the fault
of the people if they could not fight a "violent and armed"
government.



4. (SBU) Expounding on his belief that the opposition is
fighting an uphill battle against the GOAJ, Kerimli told
Ambassador that the situation had markedly deteriorated
following the November elections. As evidence, he noted the
closed trial of Yeni Fikir activists, asserted that the
number of political prisoners had grown, and reported that
every application PFP had made for a mass demonstration since
November 26 had been rejected. (NOTE: This is the first time
we've heard that any political parties had applied for
rallies since the violent November 26 rally). Ambassador
encouraged Kerimli to inform the Embassy about problems they
encounter such as freedom of assembly, saying that the USG
had and would continue to argue on behalf of the rights of
all political parties to operate unencumbered, including to
hold meetings with voters and mass demonstrations.
HARNISH