Azerbaijani and US defense ministers meet in Washington - PHOTOSESSION

Azerbaijani and US defense ministers meet in Washington  - <span style="color: red;">PHOTOSESSION
# 06 August 2013 08:19 (UTC +04:00)

Baku – APA. As a part of his visit to Washington at the invitation of U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel General Safar Abiyev first visited Arlington National Cemetery and laid a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Thereupon, he left for Pentagon.

Defense Ministry’s press service told APA that Abiyev was welcomed by the Guard of Honor and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the entrance of Pentagon.

Touching upon different aspects of strategic partnership relations between Azerbaijan and the US, Abiyev noted the special importance of practical steps taken by Azerbaijan in establishment and development of relations. The minister mentioned that positive results were achieved towards the continuation of cooperation on several programs in the defense sphere between the US and Azerbaijan. He said Azerbaijan would contribute to the operations in Afghanistan even after 2014 and that this intention was supported by NATO: ‘Consolidation of efforts in the fight against international terrorism and contributions of joint participation in the international coalition operations have great importance in strengthening cooperation’.

Speaking about the activities carried out by Azerbaijan within Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative, Abiyev noted that the energy, transport, communication and other regional projects had become an important factor in the development of strategic partnership.

Mentioning the military-political situation in the South Caucasus region, the Defense Minister said that Azerbaijani lands had been under occupation for 20 years: ‘In respect of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the U.S. and international organizations do not differentiate the aggressor and the side subjected to occupation basing on the international law. As a result of Armenia’s aggressive policy, over 1 million people in Azerbaijan have become refugees and internally displaced persons. Unfortunately, the leading states and international organizations have not declared Armenia an aggressor state yet'.

Abiyev especially noted the problems caused by Section 907 and said this is contrary to the foreign policy of the US. The minister brought to the attention of his counterpart that tense military and political situation in the region would continue unless the Azerbaijani lands are liberated.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel agreed with the views of Abiyev and said that as a friend of Azerbaijan, he would continue to make efforts for developing and strengthening strategic cooperation between the countries.

Following this, the ministers exchanged views on the military-tehnical cooperation between the two countries.

Hagel asked the Defense Minister to convey his greetings to Azerbaijan's President.

At the end of the visit, Safar Abiyev handed a letter inviting the US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan. Chuck Hagel accepted the invitation with pleasure.

The same day Safar Abiyev met with the US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. Discussions were held on the Caspian security, current state and prospects of cooperation between the navies of the two countries.

Azerbaijan's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the US Elin Suleymanov also attended the meetings.

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