WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has conveyed her
regret to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev over leaked US diplomatic
cables that compared him to a mafia boss from "The Godfather" films.
her telephone call on Wednesday, Clinton "reiterated to President
Aliyev that the US relationship with Azerbaijan remains strong," Clinton
spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.
"And she took the opportunity to convey her regret for the WikiLeaks disclosures," he added.
asked what Aliyev's response was to her expression of regret for the
cables leaked by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, Crowley replied:
"He simply indicated that he did not think that alleged cables would
affect our long-term relationship."
Crowley said "Azerbaijan
remains a key partner of the United States," something the secretary
also stressed when she visited Baku last July.
with the United States as a member of the International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) coalition in Afghanistan and also cooperates on
counter-terrorism, he said.
One of the leaked memos suggested that
Aliyev, who succeeded his father Heydar Aliyev as president of
ex-Soviet Azerbaijan in 2003, had become "increasingly authoritarian" at
home while conducting a more pragmatic foreign policy.
divergence of approaches... has led some observers to compare the
Aliyevs with the fictional 'Corleones' of Godfather fame," said the memo
dated September 2009 and published by WikiLeaks.
The memo alleged
the Azerbaijani president had created an elaborate patronage network
and "strong armed" opponents, and thus "the Aliyev administration has
developed an 'organized crime' image in some quarters, leading some
analysts to see Ilham Aliyev at times in a mafia-like role."
office has described the release of the cables by WikiLeaks as an "open
provocation." It also denied that the he had made statements to a US
diplomat questioning the authority of the Russian president, Dmitry
"The thoughts and opinions attributed by the website to
the president of the Azerbaijani Republic Ilham Aliyev absolutely do not
reflect reality and are absolutely unfounded," the president's press
office said in a written statement.
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