A group of 16 U.S. Senators, led by Minority Whip Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), addressed Azeri President Ilham Aliyev with growing concern about “a systematic crackdown on human rights and independent civil society” in Azerbaijan, calling on him in a letter issued yesterday [full text here] to “provid[e] a more tolerant environment” for media, reopen RFE/RL’s Baku bureau, and release Khadija Ismayilova, the country’s most prominent investigative reporter, who was imprisoned on fabricated charges last December.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spoke to Alhurra Television’s Congressional Correspondent Rana Abtar about the upcoming summit between the Gulf Corporation Council and the United States. He stated that he felt the Obama Administration would cater to the requests of the GCC countries stating it “can basically be described as bribery” by offering them any assurances necessary. McCain went on to say that he felt that the Arab countries are not waiting on the U.S. to take action on regional issues. He said that Operation Decisive Storm and the coalition of countries funding opposition groups in Syria are taking the lead, without the U.S.