Thursday, December 29, 2005


AzerNews Weekly, Azerbaijan
Dec 29 2005

The United States has again left Azerbaijan out of its Millennium Challenge program, explaining the move by what it called stalling democratic processes, shortfalls in state governance and lack of transparency in economic development.

Azeri officials said they are 'not concerned over this'. The Foreign Ministry spokesman Tahir Taghizada said the important issue is not U.S. assistance, but the continuing cooperation between the two countries. "The decision was also due to the fact reference was made to biased research materials on Azerbaijan provided by non-governmental organizations in the United States when the document was being developed."

The Azeri ambassador to the United States Hafiz Pashayev, in his meetings with American officials, voiced his objection over the decision. He called on Washington to use more impartial sources and on Congressmen not to accept the falsehood being spread by some pro-Armenian forces represented in these NGOs. The Millennium Challenge program implemented by the Bush administration targets assisting
developing countries. 16 criteria have been set for admission, including economic reforms, promoting democratic society, and living conditions of the population.

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