Matthew Bryza: Azerbaijan is very important partner of the United States

Matthew Bryza: Azerbaijan is very important partner of the United States
# 22 July 2010 19:45 (UTC +04:00)
According to APA’s Washington DC correspondent, Mr. Bryza has called Azerbaijan as very important partner of the United States.
“While working on the South Caucasus over the past 13 years, I have always seen the promise of the region, and if confirmed, I pledge to work closely with this Committee and other Members of Congress to advance our nation’s interests with respect to Azerbaijan”, he said.
According to Mr. Bryza, located at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia, and bordering Iran, Azerbaijan is a secular state with a Muslim-majority population, rich history, and religious and ethnic diversity.
“Azerbaijan’s major hydrocarbon resources have driven its economic growth at one of the fastest rates in the world in recent years. In security, Azerbaijan established itself as a key partner of the United States the day after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, when then President Heydar Aliyev immediately offered us unlimited overflights of Azerbaijan for our military aircraft. Today, Azerbaijan continues to provide valuable overflight, refueling, and landing rights for U.S. and coalition aircraft bound for Afghanistan. Azerbaijan has also contributed troops to U.S. and coalition military operations in Afghanistan, as well as Kosovo and Iraq. Even more, Azerbaijan has provided critical cooperation on counterterrorism, working closely with us on a range of important initiatives Azerbaijan has also remained a steadfast supporter of Israel”.
He also pointed out that, the United States and Azerbaijan have worked together to help prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Caspian Sea Basin and beyond.
Speaking about the peace process, Mr. Bryza mentioned that, there can be no military solution to this long-standing conflict; rather, negotiation and dialogue hold the key to resolving this issue and bringing peace and stability to the Caucasus region.
“I am proud of the vibrant partnership my Russian and French counterparts and I developed as Co-Chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group and the work we did together to try and bring Azerbaijan and Armenia closer to a negotiated solution based on the principles contained in the Helsinki Final Act, specifically those related to refraining from the threat or use of force, the territorial integrity of States, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples. If confirmed, I will support my successor as U.S. Co-Chair, Ambassador Robert Bradtke, and his two Minsk Group colleagues in their efforts to pursue an agreed resolution between the two countries”.
He also reminded that, the US relationship with Azerbaijan spans many important issues. “If confirmed, I pledge to do my very best to advance U.S. interests in that country”.
US Senator Richard Lugar from Indiana, co-chair of Committee pointed out that Bryza’s nomination comes after a lapse in ambassadorial representation in Baku.
“I am concerned that the continuing absence of a Senate-confirmed US representative there could impede progress toward several US national security goals. Our Committee has worked closely with our Envoy for Eurasian Energy, Ambassador Richard Morningstar, to promote the expansion of the Nabucco pipeline, the key element of a southern energy corridor that would stretch from the Caspian region to Europe. Progress on this measure will allow our allies to diversify energy supplies, while providing nations in the region with a focus for closer cooperation. The Nabucco pipeline’s commercial and political viability will depend on both Azerbaijan’s commitment of its indigenous resources and its willingness to serve as a transport hub for Central Asian energy across the Caspian from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and possibly other countries. A close partnership with Azerbaijan and other nations in the South Caucasus will also be essential to ensure the transit of supplies to our troops in the Middle East and to resolve complex disputes concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave”.
Senator Lugar believes that, Matthew Bryza is uniquely qualified to advance these US priorities.
“He possesses exceptional knowledge of the region, having spent the last thirteen years working on U.S. foreign policy in Europe and the Caucasus from both the White House and State Department. I have known and worked with Matt for much of this period. His personal efforts have been fundamental to improved relations among nations in the Caucasus and to improved energy security”– he mentioned.