The United States Senate has called for free and fair elections in Azerbaijan.

In a resolution passed without debate Thursday, the Senate noted widespread irregularities in elections held in Azerbaijan since the oil-rich former Soviet republic gained independence in 1991.

The Senate called the establishment of a transparent, free and fair election process an important step in moving Azerbaijan toward full integration into the democratic community of nations. The measure would ensure the country's long-term growth and stability.

President Bush has called the November 6 election an opportunity to raise U.S.-Azerbeijani relations to a new strategic level.

Some information in this story provided by AFP.