BAKU (News.az)–A top official from the US State Department’s Office of Caucasus Affairs and Regional Conflicts arrived in Azerbaijan on Monday on the first leg of a regional tour that would include visits to Armenia and Georgia, News.az reported.
Ethan Goldrich is a regular visitor to the region and will highlight bilateral relations during his visit, according to Keith Bean, a spokesman for the US embassy in Baku. Goldrich is scheduled to meet government officials and representatives of NGO’s and civil society organizations.
The visit comes in the wake of a massive leak of thousands of secret US diplomatic cables that reveal, among other things, a US State Department comparison of Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev to two iconic mafia dons from “The Godfather” movie trilogy.
Several of cables from Baku, published by WikiLeaks, concern the activities of Iranians in Azerbaijan; one details the business interests of Emergencies Minister Kamaladdin Heydarov and another is an account of US Under Secretary of State William Burns’ meeting with President Ilham Aliyev in February this year.
The Azerbaijani presidential press service has dismissed as untrue remarks attributed in the cable to Ilham Aliyev about Iran, Turkey and Russia. According to the cable US Charge d’Affaires Donald Lu said, “Aliyev made clear his distaste for the Erdogan government in Turkey” and said that Azerbaijan had sold gas to Russia to prevent Turkey from becoming a gas distribution hub.