The Washington Times: Why Trump must engage Azerbaijan

Washington, October 12, AZERTAC

The Washington Times newspaper has published an article by CEO of Caspian Group Holdings Rob Sobhani hailing Azerbaijan's importance to the US.

Headlined "Why Trump must engage Azerbaijan?" the article says:

"As President Trump and his foreign policy team focus on a number of challenges, we should not ignore one of America's most steadfast and reliable allies: Azerbaijan."

"In fact, there are several critical reasons why the Trump administration should immediately engage with this Muslim country of 9 million. First, the role of Azerbaijan in Mr. Trump's recent decision to increase American military engagement in Afghanistan will be critical. Not only does Azerbaijan have troops in Afghanistan fighting alongside American servicemen, but the fact that Azerbaijan allows its airspace to be used by the Pentagon's Transportation Command is vital to the success of the president's mission in Afghanistan."

"The second reason why the Trump team must immediately engage with Azerbaijan relates to the global war against Islamic extremism. The Muslim world is undergoing a "civil war" of ideas, and Azerbaijan stands at the forefront of this battle of ideas because woven into the fabric of its rich culture and heritage is religious tolerance. Azerbaijan is home to thriving Jewish, Christian, Bahai and Sunni Muslim communities, all of whom live side by side in a spirit of tolerance.

At a time when Islamic extremism is on the rise, Mr. Trump can highlight Azerbaijan as a model for other Muslim countries to emulate," Sobhani says in the article.

"Another reason why Azerbaijan must not be ignored has to do with the intersection of Mr. Trump's self-described ability to "make a deal," the true character of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the frozen conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh."

"Showcasing Azerbaijan's vital role as an energy corridor to Europe is another reason why the Trump team must engage with Baku. The United States and Azerbaijan share the common goal of uninterrupted exploration, development and transportation of oil and gas from the Caspian Sea basin to markets in Europe and beyond. The export of Azerbaijan's gas to Europe, scheduled to begin in 2020, can diversify the Continent's energy imports. Mr. Trump can demonstrate a strategic vision for Europe's long-term energy security by renewing America's 100 percent support for a trans-Caspian gas corridor originating in Azerbaijan," the article says.

"On any given day, the president of the United States and his team face daunting challenges, such as a madman's shooting rampage, natural disasters that leave our fellow citizens homeless. And yet amid all these legitimate concerns, we cannot forget our friends and allies. Azerbaijan is one such American partner that deserves the Trump team's immediate attention," the article concludes.

Yusif Babanli

Special Correspondent

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