Experts in Baku are welcoming US President Barack Obama’s decision to appoint longtime Caucasus hand Matthew Bryza as ambassador to Azerbaijan. But many are cautioning that Bryza’s arrival is unlikely to break existing diplomatic logjams.
Bryza, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs under former President George W. Bush, was nominated as the US ambassador to Baku in May 2010, but saw his confirmation stall amid opposition in the US Senate. The post had been vacant since 2009.
With Baku’s mood steadily souring over the delay, President Obama on December 29 used a constitutional provision that allows him to send Bryza to Baku without Senate confirmation when the Senate is not in session. The Senate, however, must confirm Bryza’s nomination -- a so-called recess appointment -- by the end of 2011 for him to remain in the post.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance correspondent based in Baku. He is also a board member of the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation -- Azerbaijan.