A top U.S. State Department official said he expects Voice of America and Radio Free Europe to continue broadcasts in Azerbaijan -- in spite of that country's announcement of plans to cancel all foreign broadcasts.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Kramer told reporters in Baku Wednesday that after talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev he is optimistic the broadcasts will continue. He said the U.S.-based Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees VOA and RFE, will engage with Azerbaijani agencies to try and reach a new arrangement for broadcasts.
He added that Britain's BBC will likely also hold talks on continuing its transmissions into Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani government said last month that a long-standing law prohibits local radio and television stations in Azerbaijan from transmitting foreign broadcasts. The government has told the stations to end such broadcasts by January 1, 2009.