.... Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan’s new envoy, has also gotten a taste of American life as the nation’s first consul general to Los Angeles and the western U.S. states, leading the team that established an Azerbaijani diplomatic presence on the West Coast for the last five years.
A graduate of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, Ambassador Suleymanov also holds graduate degrees from the Political Geography Department of Moscow State University in Russia and the University of Toledo in Ohio. Washington, D.C., also represents a homecoming of sorts for Suleymanov, who was a press officer at the Azerbaijani Embassy in D.C. before heading out West.
He already dove into the Beltway think tank circuit, hosting a discussion for the Johns Hopkins University’s Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and its Silk Road Studies Program on Feb. 1.
On the flip side, Suleymanov has no U.S. counterpart in Azerbaijan at the moment after the Senate blocked Obama’s choice for the post, Matthew Bryza, from continuing as ambassador to Baku.
Obama had given Bryza, who’d been deputy assistant secretary of state for Eurasian affairs under the Bush administration, a one-year recess appointment to bypass lawmakers who’d opposed Bryza’s confirmation on the grounds that he had a pro-Azerbaijani tilt.
Those charges largely stemmed from a campaign against Bryza initiated by Armenian-American lobbying groups, which worried that the career diplomat was too close to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to be objective about his dismal human rights record and in the longstanding dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
As an oil-rich nation and major energy transit point, Azerbaijan is a strategic regional ally for the United States.
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