U.S.-Azer­bai­jani re­la­tions high­lighted

Azer News - - Nation - By Ab­dul Ker­imkhanov

U.S. Deputy As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for Euro­pean and Eurasian Af­fairs Ge­orge Kent was on an of­fi­cial visit to Baku on Oc­to­ber 9-10 and par­tic­i­pated in a num­ber of meet­ings, in­clud­ing with Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev and the coun­try's top of­fi­cials.

At the meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Aliyev, the suc­cess­ful de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween Azer­bai­jan and the U.S. in a va­ri­ety of ar­eas was hailed at the meet­ing.

The Azer­bai­jani head of state thanked U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for his re­marks and warm words re­gard­ing Azer­bai­jan-U.S. re­la­tions fea­tured in his mes­sages on the cen­te­nary of the Azer­bai­jan Demo­cratic Repub­lic and the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor.

Se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion was pointed out dur­ing the meet­ing. Azer­bai­jan’s con­tri­bu­tion to peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions in Afghanistan and its sup­port to the Afghan gov­ern­ment in a bi­lat­eral for­mat was hailed.

The sides dis­cussed the is­sues re­lat­ing to the set­tle­ment of the Ar­me­nia-Azer­bai­jan Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict. The par­ties also pointed to the suc­cess­ful en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion, un­der­lin­ing the U.S. sup­port to the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor project.

The sides also dis­cussed the op­por­tu­ni­ties for bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in non-oil sec­tor, as well as trade, IT, in­vest­ment, and agri­cul­tural ar­eas.

As part of his visit, Kent also met with Min­is­ter of En­ergy Parviz Shah­bah­zov, duwing which the U.S. of­fi­cial said that Azer­bai­jan is play­ing an im­por­tant role in the di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of en­ergy sources and routes.

At the meet­ing, the sides noted suc­cess­ful de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween Azer­bai­jan and the US in the en­ergy sec­tor.

High as­sess­ment was given to the con­tin­ued U.S. sup­port for en­ergy projects be­ing im­ple­mented in Azer­bai­jan, in­clud­ing the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor project. An ex­change of views took place on the project’s role in en­sur­ing the en­ergy se­cu­rity of coun­tries of South-East­ern Europe and the prospects for ex­pand­ing the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor project at a later stage.

Kent said that Azer­bai­jan plays an im­por­tant role in the pol­icy of di­ver­si­fy­ing en­ergy sources and routes, and noted that the po­si­tion of the US on projects re­lated to en­ergy se­cu­rity re­mains un­changed.

In turn, Shah­bazov spoke about the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor project and added that the sig­nif­i­cance of the project was also ex­pressed at the high-level meet­ings that took place as part of the 27th World Gas Con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton.

At the meet­ing, the sides dis­cussed the nec­es­sary mea­sures to en­sure co­op­er­a­tion on the use of re­new­able en­ergy sources and re­forms in the en­ergy sec­tor, as well as pro­cesses tak­ing place in the global en­ergy mar­ket.

Ge­orge Kent also at­tended the meet­ing with Azer­bai­jani For­eign Min­is­ter El­mar Mam­mad­yarov.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, grat­i­fi­ca­tion with the suc­cess­ful de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, en­ergy, trans­port and other fields was ex­pressed.

The im­por­tance of in­creas­ing ef­forts to fur­ther in­ten­sify bi­lat­eral re­la­tions was also stressed.

The min­is­ter spoke about im­por­tant en­ergy and trans­port projects be­ing im­ple­mented with the ini­tia­tive and with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Azer­bai­jan, in par­tic­u­lar about the Baku-Tbil­isi-Kars rail­way and the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor.

“Azer­bai­jan wel­comes the U.S. sup­port in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of those projects,” Mam­mad­yarov said. “Azer­bai­jan con­tin­ues to sup­port in­ter­na­tional peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions in Afghanistan.”

In turn, Kent said that the U.S. con­tin­ues to de­velop bi­lat­eral re­la­tions with Azer­bai­jan in en­ergy, se­cu­rity, econ­omy and oth­ers.

He also stressed that Azer­bai­jan’s con­tri­bu­tion to peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions within the fight against ter­ror­ism is ap­pre­ci­ated.

The Azer­bai­jani for­eign min­is­ter spoke about the cur­rent ne­go­ti­a­tions on the set­tle­ment of the Ar­me­nia-Azer­bai­jan Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict and his meet­ing with the Ar­me­nian for­eign min­is­ter in New York me­di­ated by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.

Mam­mad­yarov stressed that the vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized bor­ders of a coun­try by us­ing force is un­ac­cept­able. Dur­ing the meet­ing, views on other is­sues of mu­tual in­ter­est were ex­changed.

At a press con­fer­ence in Baku on Oc­to­ber 10, Ge­orge Kent said that the pur­pose of his visit to Azer­bai­jan is to en­sure fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

He said that the U.S. ap­pre­ci­ates Azer­bai­jan’s con­tri­bu­tion to se­cu­rity in Afghanistan and the ac­tiv­ity of the Azer­bai­jani gov­ern­ment to en­sure and en­hance se­cu­rity in the re­gion.

The U.S. wants to see Azer­bai­jan even more de­vel­oped and pros­per­ous, he said.

Speak­ing of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor, which pro­vides for the trans­porta­tion of Azer­bai­jani gas to Europe, Kent noted that it will en­sure en­ergy se­cu­rity by di­ver­si­fy­ing the sources of en­ergy sup­ply

How­ever, he stressed that some coun­tries use the en­ergy fac­tor as a weapon.

“The South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor is a very large-scale project. Many com­pa­nies and coun­tries have spent bil­lions of dol­lars to im­ple­ment this project. The projects like SGC are a prime ex­am­ple of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween coun­tries,” Kent said.

Touch­ing upon the is­sue of the Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict, he said that progress has been achieved in the process of its res­o­lu­tion.

"In Azer­bai­jan, ev­ery­one is in­ter­ested in a peace­ful set­tle­ment of the con­flict. Dur­ing our visit to the coun­try, we stressed the re­cent progress in re­solv­ing the con­flict, in­clud­ing the meet­ing of the For­eign Min­is­ters of Azer­bai­jan and Ar­me­nia in New York, as well as the meet­ing of Pres­i­dent of Azer­bai­jan Il­ham Aliyev and Ar­me­nian Prime Min­is­ter Nikol Pashinyan in Dushanbe," he added.

Kent noted that as one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, the United States takes se­ri­ously its obli­ga­tions to re­solve the con­flict on the ba­sis of the Madrid prin­ci­ples.

"The OSCE Minsk Group cochairs will make a visit to the re­gion this month, in two weeks. I want to note that ten­sion on the con­tact line of troops has de­creased. We urge the par­ties to con­tinue in this spirit," he said.

The con­flict be­tween the two South Cau­ca­sus coun­tries be­gan in 1988 when Ar­me­nia made ter­ri­to­rial claims against Azer­bai­jan. As a re­sult of the en­su­ing war, in 1992 Ar­me­nian armed forces oc­cu­pied 20 per­cent of Azer­bai­jan, in­clud­ing the Nagorno-Karabakh re­gion and seven sur­round­ing re­gions.

The 1994 cease­fire agree­ment was fol­lowed by peace ne­go­ti­a­tions. Ar­me­nia has not yet im­ple­mented four UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions on with­drawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the sur­round­ing re­gions.

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