US Congressman stresses Azerbaijan’s importance for US

US Congressman stresses Azerbaijan’s importance for US
# 27 January 2010 00:39 (UTC +04:00)
Washington. Isabel Levine – APA. US Congressman John Shadegg sent a letter to all members of Congress about Azerbaijan, on January 26th.
According to APA’s Washington correspondent, in the letter named “Don’t forget Azerbaijan” Congressman Shadegg stressed Azerbaijan’s importance for US.

According to the letter, the Congressman said: “Most of us have been heartened by the recent signing of protocols between Turkey and Armenia that are designed to lead to the normalization of relations between these two traditional enemies, both of whom are good friends of the United States. It is good to see Turkey starting to play a leadership role in the maintenance of stability in the volatile Caucuses region. At the same time, it is important that the United States not forget the vital interests of Azerbaijan, one of our strong allies in the region”.

Congressman Shadegg quoted Under Secretary of State William Burns’ recent statement: “The US views Azerbaijan as a strategic partner sitting at the crossroads of the Middle East, Europe, and Asia”.

Also, he reminded that congressman Bill Shuster, Co-chair of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus called Azerbaijan “is an indispensable ally in the fight against terrorism.”

After that Congressman Shadegg also noted: “Like Turkey, Azerbaijan has a long standing dispute with Armenia. One of the issues is the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh which is legally within Azerbaijan, but with a majority Armenian population. An armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1991 resulted in several hundred thousand Azeris becoming internally displaced, and about 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including Nagoro-Karabakh, coming under Armenian occupation. The United States has worked with the French and Russian governments within the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe framework to forge a solution to this dispute based on the principle of territorial integrity. This is an ongoing process”.

In the letter, Congressman Shadegg also mentioned that, the success of the Armenia-Turkish negotiations should not result in the Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiations being relegated to the diplomatic back burner.

“During the past five years, Azerbaijan has demonstrated support for US strategic interests. It has supported our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its vast gas resources show promise for diversification of Western Europe’s energy needs away from its current heavy dependence on Russia. It is vital that the US not take Azerbaijan for granted in its diplomatic initiatives toward Turkey, Armenia and the entire Caucasus region”, - Congressman Shadegg added.