US Baku envoy moves to senior State post

April 27, 2006 at 12:19 PM
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 21 (UPI) -- U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan Reno Harnish is taking up a senior position in the State Department.

Ambassador Harnish is returning to Washington to a senior position as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau for Oceans, Environment and Science, after his term in Baku expired.

State Department officials have rejected speculation in the

Azerbaijani press that Harnish was recalled because of a human smuggling

scandal which came to the attention of the Federal Bureau of

Investigation.

The U.S. officials also pointed out that there was no connection

whatsoever between Harnish's transfer and the recent murder of a former

U.S. Embassy official Zarifa Jabiyeva at her home in Baku.

"There is absolutely no connection between either of these cases and

Ambassador Harnish's return to Washington where he will shortly assume

his new duties," a State Department official told UPI.

U.S. officials also told UPI that no Foreign Service Nationals who had

served the U.S. Embassy in the State Department had been charged with

any crime connected with the human smuggling ring.

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