Azerbaijan interested in developing cooperation with U.S.
By Sara Rajabova
Baku and Washington have highlighted the successful cooperation in the fields of energy, fight against the terrorism and regional security.
Azerbaijan`s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met Bridget Brink, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in Baku on November 23, the foreign ministry reported.
Brink visited Azerbaijan following her visit to Armenia as part of her regional tour to the South Caucasus.
Mammadyarov stressed the importance of evaluating the current opportunities for further deepening bilateral ties.
Noting that Azerbaijan is interested in developing cooperation with the United States, he highlighted the importance of discussing all issues in dialogue and mutual respect.
The meeting also touched upon the long-standing Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Mammadyarov emphasized the significance of increasing the efforts by the U.S. together with other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group over the settlement of the conflict.
The U.S. is one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries along with France and Russia, which have been tasked to mediate between the conflicting sides for peaceful resolution of the problem.
Brink, for her part, said Washington attached importance to relations with Azerbaijan, highlighting her meetings held in Baku.
The U.S. official also met Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov, who highlighted the assistance of meetings to cementing the bilateral ties, saying, national leader Heydar Aliyev`s visit to U.S. in 1997 strengthened these bonds even further.
He said Azerbaijan is a reliable partner of the U.S. in the region, noting there were wide opportunities for cooperation in the fields of politics, security, economy, investment making, culture, education, implementation of energy projects.
On trade cooperation, Khalafov said the representatives of the U.S. companies participating in the recent Azerbaijan-U.S. business meeting were interested in the investment making in non-oil field.
Brink, in turn, said they applauded assistance of Azerbaijan to the U.S. peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan and fighting against the terrorism.
The Azerbaijani armed forces are successfully cooperating in Kosovo, Iraq, and currently in Afghanistan as part of the international peacekeeping mission.
Azerbaijan has been a member of the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan since 2003. The Azerbaijani peacekeeping contingent doubled in 2009.
Earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received the U.S. delegation. The sides noted two countries’ successful cooperation in various fields over last years, putting special emphasize on the importance of relations in energy and regional security, economic development and other areas.
Since Azerbaijan's emergence as an independent nation in 1991, the U.S.-Azerbaijan relationship has evolved into a strategic partnership based on mutual interests and common values.