The Washington Times: Azerbaijan’s election, an affirmation of stability

The Washington Times newspaper has published an article by CEO of Caspian Group Holdings Rob Sobhani hailing the April 11presidential election in Azerbaijan as transparent.

Headlined “Azerbaijan’s election, an affirmation of stability”, the article says: “I first visited Azerbaijan (as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University) in November 1990. Much has changed during these past 27 years and I have been fortunate to have witnessed first-hand the progress of this strategically important country with a rich culture.

The metrics for good governance in Azerbaijan since its hard fought independence in 1991 are there for some in the media to report on but for some reason are rarely mentioned. For example, since its independence from the Soviet Union (and the total collapse of the health care delivery system) life expectancy has gone from 64 to 71.”

“When I first visited Azerbaijan, its GDP stood at a mere $8.7 billion. It peaked to $75.2 billion in 2014 and now stands at $37.8 billion. According to the World Bank, poverty rates have fallen from 49.6 percent to 6 percent today. And as poverty rates have dropped, more and more Azerbaijanis have seen their purchasing power increase, thus allowing them to transition to the middle class. President Ilham Aliyev has made it very clear that his goal is to expand his country’s middle class,” the article says.

“Without political and economic stability, Azerbaijan would not have been able to improve the lives of its citizens. Indeed, any Azerbaijani with whom I have spoken to has put a premium on stability (which explains why President Aliyev won with over 80 percent of the vote in a transparent election on April 11).

They want to see their country remain stable and independent. Both former President Heydar Aliyev and his son Ilham Aliyev have delivered on this desire of the Azerbaijan populace,” the article emphasizes.

“Sadly, some in the media have not covered two aspects of U.S.-Azerbaijan relations that are critical to global security; namely, the global war on terror and energy security. According to the U.S. government, in 2016 Azerbaijan maintained its strong counterterrorism cooperation with the United States and actively opposed terrorist organizations seeking to move people, money and material through the Caucasus region.

On the energy security front, Azerbaijan has been a reliable partner of the West. In fact, Washington and Baku share the same goal of uninterrupted exploration, development and transportation of oil and gas from the Caspian Basin to consumers in the West.

The human right to practice one’s faith freely and without government interference is a main feature of Azerbaijan’s culture.”

“Mehriban Aliyeva, first vice president of Azerbaijan feels that while scientists try to figure out a way to sequester CO2 emissions, a global campaign to plant trees can be an excellent way to capture carbon emissions. According to Yale University’s Thomas Crowther, “Trees are among the most prominent and critical organisms on earth and they store huge amounts of carbon,” the article adds.

“President Ilham Aliyev should be congratulated for his re-election and deserves America’s praise for delivering economic growth, political stability and religious tolerance to the people of his country,” the article concludes.

Yusif Babanli

Special Correspondent

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