Discussion on Azerbaijan held at annual conference of influential U.S.-based Jewish organization
A seminar on the theme “New Borders: Israel’s Strategy in the Caucasus and Central Asia,” dedicated to Azerbaijan-Israel partnership, was held on the sidelines of the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a leading U.S.-based Jewish organization.
About 250 public and political figures, academicians, representatives of business circles and diplomatic corps, including Azerbaijani Ambassador to the U.S. Elin Suleymanov, Executive Vice-Chairman of the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry (NCSEJ) Mark B. Levin, Professor of Georgetown University Brenda Shaffer, and Director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center Svante E. Cornell took part in the seminar, Azerbaijan’s Embassy in the U.S. told APA.
Addressing the seminar, Ambassador Elin Suleymanov noted that Azerbaijan is located on the most important strategic junction and is a place that unites different cultures.
The diplomat said that this year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic, the first democratic republic in the Muslim East, which shows that the Azerbaijani society is an example of the traditions of tolerance.
Suleymanov emphasized Azerbaijan’s support for peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan and the country’s growing role in the world’s energy map. He noted that Azerbaijan’s role as an initiator of large-scale transport projects in the center of the Silk Road has a positive impact on the development of economic relations with the US.
The relations between Azerbaijan and Israel are based on friendship and cooperation, said the diplomat, highlighting Azerbaijan’s leading and important role in establishing relations between Israel and the Muslim world.
It was also noted at the seminar that Muslims, Jews and members of other religious communities live in Azerbaijan in a friendly atmosphere, and that the National Hero of Azerbaijan, Jewish man Albert Agarunov, who died fighting for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, is an example of a true patriot.
Mark Levin, Brenda Shaffer and Svante Cornell said in their speeches that Azerbaijan’s experience in combating extremism and radicalism can be useful for other states. They mentioned that although 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory is under occupation and more than one million Azerbaijanis became internally displaced, the country’s policy is far from radicalism.
It was underlined that the Houston-Baku Sister City Association’s financial assistance for the restoration of the largest religious temple of the Jewish community, Bet Yeshurun synagogue, which was damaged as a result of Hurricane Harvey last year, is another testimony to the sustainable development of bilateral relations.
The policy conference of AIPAC, which is held annually in Washington, is the largest political event of the Jewish community. About 20,000 attendants, including representatives of the US Administration and Congress, other high-ranking officials, as well as statesmen from Israel and other states attend the event. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and foreign ministers of the Baltic States are expected to deliver speeches at the conference.
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