Bill Shuster: “Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act of 1992 is contrary to U.S. national interest in the region”

Bill Shuster: “Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act of 1992 is contrary to U.S. national interest in the region”
# 29 May 2010 15:55 (UTC +04:00)
According to the Congressman, located in a geopolitically dynamic region between Europe and Asia and sandwiched between Russia and Iran, Azerbaijan is a secular county with a predominantly Muslim population that has also been home for more than millennia for vibrant Christian and Jewish communities.

“Azerbaijan first gained independence in 1918, which led to an explosion of the arts, education, and economic growth. That independence was suspended in 1920 by Soviet invasion, not to be restored until 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan has opened Caspian energy resources to development by U.S. companies and has emerged as a key player for global energy security. On the security front, immediately after 9/11 Azerbaijan was among the first to offer strong support and assistance to the United States. Azerbaijan participated in operations in Kosovo and Iraq and is actively engaged in Afghanistan, having recently doubled its military presence there. Azerbaijan has extended important over-flight clearances for U.S. and NATO flights to support ISAF and has regularly provided landing and refueling operations at its airports for U.S. and NATO forces. Also, Azerbaijan plays an important role in the Northern Distribution Network, a supply route to Afghanistan by making available its ground and Caspian naval transportation facilities. Additionally, Azerbaijan provides specialized training for Afghan police, border guard officers and de-miners, education and training of Afghan civilian and military medical doctors, and medical treatment of Afghan citizens at Azeri hospitals. Azerbaijan has provided medical equipment and supplies to Afghanistan as well as assisting in the construction of schools and hospitals there”.

Mr. Shuster then pointed out that, against this backdrop, Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act of 1992, which prohibits direct U.S. government assistance to Azerbaijan, remains a serious obstacle to expanding the strategic partnership between our two countries and is contrary to U.S. national interest in the region.

“As one of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group charged with resolving the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the United States must engage more actively in mediation efforts, as is the case with Moscow and Paris”.

Congressman in conclusion said, he also encourages his colleagues who are interested in supporting Azerbaijan to join him as a member of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus.
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