Washington briefing: Azerbaijanis lobby in California

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Saturday March 07, 2009

Washington - A group of Azerbaijani officials was back in the state with the largest Armenian-American population. Member of the Milli Majlis Asim Mollazade, accompanied by Azerbaijan's consul general in Los Angeles Elin Suleymanov, visited with members of California State Assembly, including Sam Blakeslee, Bob Blumenfield, Julia Brownley, Felipe Fuentes, Fiona Ma, and Lori Saldaña.

The visit, a second such tour in six months, was intended to play up Azerbaijan's importance, including its efforts to turn "black gold" (oil) into "human gold," Azerbaijani media reports said.

Ms. Brownley and Ms. Saldaña were among California officials who in September 2007 went to Azerbaijan, where they heard about the misdeeds of the "destructive" Armenian diaspora.

According to a February 24 Trend news report, Mr. Fuentes sent a letter to President Ilham Aliyev, expressing "condolences" to Azerbaijan over its losses in the Karabakh war. Mr. Suleymanov called the letter a "very important event since "Armenians provide false information about the [Karabakh] conflict."

Mr. Mollazade and other Azerbaijani officials were reportedly ordered to the United States as part of the Azerbaijani State Committee for Work with Diaspora "action plan." According to APA, the plan also involved pickets, presentations, and exhibits held in Washington, New York, California, and elsewhere to highlight Azerbaijani grievances against Armenians.

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