Reports on US arms sale ban denied

A senior Azerbaijani official has dismissed media reports claiming the United States government banned sale of weapons to Azerbaijan.

``Overall, the U.S. has never sold weaponry to Azerbaijan. Likewise, Azerbaijan has never put forward an initiative to buy weapons from the U.S. So, these reports are absolutely baseless,`` Ali Hasanov, the Presidential Administration`s department head, told the Baku-based APA news agency.

Hasanov said the provocative reports were circulated by anti-Azerbaijani forces.

``The goal is to shape a negative opinion about the U.S. amidst the Azerbaijani public and harm the relations between the two countries,`` he said, adding that the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and the media outlets it supports are behind the release of such reports.

ANCA claimed that the US State Department has excluded Azerbaijan from the list of importers of military machinery and refused to sell the country spare parts for the production of military helicopters. The issue was cast into spotlight after Democratic Congressman Howard Berman sent a letter to Congress.

U.S. Charge d`Affaires in Azerbaijan Adam Sterling also dismissed the reports on the arms sale ban.

``When companies want to sell defense articles outside the U.S. they get a license for the sale from the State Department,`` Sterling told reporters on Tuesday. ``This case involved a single application from a company which wants to sell a defense article to a number of countries and in the list of countries there was Azerbaijan and that private company amended its license and removed Azerbaijan from the application.``

Sterling didn`t specify the name of the company.

He added the United States has a very strong security relationship with Azerbaijan as a very strong security partner.