Cool reception for Cheney in Azerbaijan

American Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit to the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, appears to be have been unsuccessful for Washington, unlike his visit to Tbilisi.

Cheney received a cool welcome and, according to Russia's Kommersant newspaper, Azerbaijan’s President Ilkham Aliyev has implied that Baku is going to play a waiting game concerning the Nabucco gas pipeline, which is set to bypass Russia.

Neither President Ilkham Aliyev nor the Prime Minister, Artur Rasizade, were there to greet Cheney at Baku airport. Instead, he was met by the country’s First Deputy PM and the Foreign Minister.

The Kommersant newspaper reports that Cheney was very annoyed by the results of the meeting with President Aliyev and even refused to attend a ceremonial supper in his own honour.

Aleksandr Pikaev, an analyst from the Institute for World Economy and International Relations, believes Dick Cheney is hardly the right man for diplomacy in the region.

“The Americans didn’t find anything else to support their failed ally Saakashvili other than sending to the region Mr Cheney who is incredibly unpopular in the world, who is associated with the war in Iraq, with all this conservative black-and-white vision of the world, who was accused of corruption – remember the Halliburton affair in Iraq. If the Bush Administration really wanted to consolidate the international community behind the U.S. in criticising Russia, I think they should have found somebody else, not Mr Cheney,” Pikaev said.