By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The United States will most probably lift the Armenian-initiated Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act that bans any kind of direct U.S. aid to the Azerbaijani government.
"I am more than sure that under the next U.S. President, as of 2020-2024, we will have that cancellation," Bosnian expert Sabahudin Hadzialic, who is Assoc. Prof. Dr & Dr. Honoris Causa, said in an interview with Azernews.
Hadzialic described Section 907 to the Freedom Support Act as a stumbling block in the U.S.-Azerbaijani relations.
Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act had been lobbied by the Armenian Diaspora and bans direct U.S. aid to the Azerbaijani government, thus making Azerbaijan the only post-Soviet state not to receive direct aid from the United States government to facilitate economic and political stability. The section to the Act followed Azerbaijan's blockade of Armenia that was in response to Armenia’s occupation of its territories.
Speaking about the Armenian lobby’s potential to hurt Baku-Washington ties, Hadzialic said: "The Armenian lobby cannot hurt good, open and straightforward politics. You just need to respond quickly to any provocation from the opposite side," Hadzialic stated.
The expert said that the U.S. is interested in good ties with Azerbaijan given Azerbaijan’s strategic importance as Europe’s energy supplier and its cooperation with the U.S. in fight against terrorism.
Hadzialic reminded that Governor of Nebraska state Peter Rickets proclaimed May 28 as “Azerbaijan National Day”, adding that the move tells a lot about relationship between the two countries. He also mentioned that the U.S. presidents frequently make contacts with the Azerbaijan’s authorities.
Hadzialic recalled President Donald Trump’s letter to President Ilham Aliyev in May 2017, where Trump highlighted Azerbaijan's efforts in global security. Trump also expressed his country’s commitment “to strengthening our relationship through dialogue on security, economic cooperation, and democratic principles.”
The expert stressed that Azerbaijan is a secular Muslim state that has shared values with the West, which endears Azerbaijan even more to Washington. He cited strategic partnership between the U.S. and Azerbaijan as major milestones in the relations between the two countries.
"Being a Muslim country, Azerbaijan is also secular and multicultural. Azerbaijan knows how culture and sports are important and supports them immensely. For the U.S., it is also among the most important factors," he noted.
Commenting on the importance of South Caucasus for the U.S., the expert said that the region is important, but not of vital interest for Washington. Hadzialic said that the U.S. interest in the South Caucasus is mainly about preserving regional stability, preventing the resumption of frozen conflicts, and most importantly, supporting democratic change and better governance.
The expert further pointed out that Azerbaijan is a very convenient platform – “a lighthouse” for regional cooperation in Eurasia.
He noted that no other country in Eurasia region enjoy as much potential for cooperation as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Hadzialic urged Azerbaijan to continue with this kind of open policy contacts, which is very important from the geostrategic point of view.
Hadzialic prasied Azerbaijan’s multi-faceted economic partnerships. “Just continue to develop responsibilities and obligations towards your own people. So far you have done an excellent job," he concluded.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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