Philip H. Gordon: “A strong, independent, prosperous and democratic Azerbaijan will always be a friend and a partner for the United States”

Philip H. Gordon: “A strong, independent, prosperous and democratic Azerbaijan will always be a friend and a partner for the United States”
# 29 February 2012 15:26 (UTC +04:00)
"Three core areas are really of central importance to the relationship. Those are the areas of security, energy and political and economic reform", he mentioned".

"Where international security is concerned our soldiers, American soldiers, Azerbaijani soldiers, have stood shoulder to shoulder in Kosovo, in Iraq, and we are very grateful for Azerbaijan’s continued commitment to the allied effort in Afghanistan where Azerbaijani troops have served with great distinction", he added.

According to the assistant secretary, Azerbaijan, has also served as a vital transportation route for supporting NATO operations in Afghanistan with thousands of US military flights transiting over Azerbaijan on the way to Afghanistan.

He also mentioned that Azerbaijan has recently taken a seat on the UN Security Council for a two year term, assuming very important responsibilities for promoting global security, and Azerbaijan has also played a critical role in enforcing international sanctions against Iran, another high priority for this administration.

"On security, no issue is more important than our commitment to a peaceful and fair settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States continues to work closely with the sides to achieve a lasting negotiated settlement", he added. "The final steps towards peace, of course, are often the most difficult, but we believe peace is possible and necessary. And with commitment and political will from the sides, we can move towards a more secure and prosperous future".

Mr. Gordon also added that "it remains our conviction that only a negotiated settlement can lead to long-term peace and stability and open new opportunities for regional development and cooperation".

The US also works closely with Azerbaijan on energy security. "We’re building on past efforts like the so-called Contract of the Century and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline which are the hallmarks of, some of the hallmarks of the past 20 years of our cooperation. We certainly share Azerbaijan’s goal of establishing a southern corridor in natural gas exports to Europe. We welcome progress made last year including transit agreements that Azerbaijan signed with Turkey last October and that has paved the way for the southern corridor to play a key role in diversifying energy routes and sources for European markets in the years ahead. The southern corridor would be good for Azerbaijan, it would be good for Europe, and it would be good for the United States".
The US also looks forward to continuing work with Azerbaijan on democratic and economic reforms including promoting respect for the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and the development of a vibrant civil society which we believe is essential to Azerbaijan’s long term prosperity and success.
"We view Azerbaijan as a country of tremendous potential and we want Azerbaijan to succeed in its goal of developing into a modern democracy and a regional and global leader. It goes without saying that Azerbaijan’s progress in these areas will help to deepen our bilateral relationship. A strong, independent, prosperous and democratic Azerbaijan will always be a friend and a partner for the United States".
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