WASHINGTON (AHN) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev Wednesday afternoon to apologize for a recently leaked diplomatic cable comparing Azerbaijan’s leader to fictional mafia bosses from “The Godfather” films.
Addressing journalists at a regular State Department briefing, spokesman PJ Crowley confirmed that Clinton made the phone call to discuss “the strategically important partnership between our two countries.”
Taking “the opportunity to convey her regrets for the WikiLeaks disclosures, Clinton in her telephone call, “reiterated to President Aliyev that the U.S. relationship with Azerbaijan remain strong.”
Asked to comment on Azerbaijan President’s response to Clinton’s phone call, Crowley told journalists: “He simply indicated that he did not think that alleged cables would affect our long-term relationship.”
“Azerbaijan remains a key partner of the United States,” said Crowly, adding that this is something the secretary had reiterated during her visit to Baku last July.
Noting that Azerbaijan works with the U.S. as a member of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) coalition in Afghanistan, Crowley said the Central Asian country also cooperates on counter-terrorism.
Earlier a leaked cable from WikiLeaks alleged that incumbent president Aliyev, had become “increasingly authoritarian” after succeeding his father Heydar Aliyev as president of ex-Soviet Azerbaijan in 2003.