U.S. invites Azerbaijan to global nuclear security discussions

U.S. President Barack Obama has invited President Ilham Aliyev to attend the 4th Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, in March 2016.

This announcement from the Twitter account of Novruz Mammadov, deputy head of Azerbaijani presidential administration and chief of the administration’s foreign relations department, has a pleasant echo in political circles, which accepted this invitation as high recognition of Azerbaijan's position in the region.

Obama, in his letter dated to December 3, noted that Azerbaijan has demonstrated steadfast support of the global nuclear security architecture.

In recent years, Azerbaijan has proved itself as a reliable and balanced partner, gaining confidence of many nations. The county's contribution to minimizing global security threats has always been appraised and promoted.

President Ilham Aliyev's invitation to high-profile security summit is an obvious evidence showing the country's role in the global security system.

Azerbaijan’s participation in the nuclear summit will be symbolic, as the country is not a nuclear power. This is a result of a balanced and well thought-out foreign policy pursued by President Aliyev.

The invitation to Washington stressed the priority the White House attaches to Azerbaijan and also a reply to anti-Azerbaijani forces keen to cool the relations between the two states.

Azerbaijan has always been a staunch supporter of peace and prosperity in the world, which also defines and reinforces the country's position in the international arena. Azerbaijan is one of the leading countries in the region, which has always advocated a peaceful resolution of conflicts, and is an active participant in the fight against terrorism.

That makes the country the most-invited guest of the important international events and gatherings, held to discuss the milestones of the recent developments in the world and look for ways of addressing the problems of global significance.

In his letter, Obama expressed hope that Azerbaijan will continue to prioritize efforts to interdict nuclear and radiological materials.

Azerbaijan contributed to the international efforts in Iran’s nuclear issue. Recently, U.S. State Secretary John Kerry has praised Azerbaijan’s role in the withdrawal of Iran's uranium to Russia, saying “Azerbaijan played a role in facilitating the shipment.”

Iran has shipped its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Russia as a key step in fulfilling its commitments under the landmark nuclear deal reached with six world powers in July in Vienna.

Some experts believe that the nuclear summit also will be a good chance for Baku to popularize its own hardships.

"Azerbaijan can use this event to explain its complicated geopolitical position and security challenges, and use the opportunity to its advantage," Ariel Cohen, the leading expert of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, principal of International Market Analysis believes.

The Summit will continue discussions over the evolving threat and highlight steps that can be taken together to minimize the use of highly-enriched uranium, secure vulnerable materials, counter nuclear smuggling and deter, detect, and disrupt attempts at nuclear terrorism.

The nuclear security summit will be held in Washington, from March 31 to April 1, 2016. The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington in 2010, the second - in Seoul in 2012, the third - in The Hague in 2014.