Azerbaijan rejects US criticism of its election

Friday - 10/11/2013, 12:20pm EDT

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) -- Azerbaijan has lashed out at the United States over what it calls an unfair assessment of its presidential election.

Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry said Friday the U.S. State Department's criticism of the vote was an "inadmissible" sign of "disrespect to Azerbaijani citizens."

President Ilham Aliyev won a third term by a landslide in Wednesday's vote in the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation allied with the West.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe criticized the election, noting ballot box stuffing, poor vote counting, disproportionate media coverage of the president, and limitations on free speech and assembly.

The State Department voiced regret Thursday that Azerbaijan's vote fell short of international standards. It called on Azerbaijan to respect freedom of speech but also urged restraint by all in the post-electoral period.

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