Defense Minister of Azerbaijan, Colonel-General Safar Abiyev met, August 28, with the U.S. Congress delegation led by deputy Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Curt Weldon.

Having introduced the delegation members, Mr. Weldon told the Minister about the Committee’s activity and the group’s trips to Russian Federation, Northern Korea and other countries. He described this visit to Azerbaijan as very important and mentioned the country’s active participation in anti-terror coalition.

The Congressman said the goal of the visit is to agree on realization of long-term programs in the framework of co-operation with Azerbaijan Parliament establishing official relationship between the United States Congress and the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan.

Summing up the idea the guest expressed wish to see Azerbaijan as the U.S.’ main ally in the region.

He further stated the USA intends to co-operate constantly with Azerbaijan in the fight against international terrorism, proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction and other menaces.

Colonel-General S. Abiyev said Azerbaijan had been the first among NIS to face terror: as a result of the terrorist actions committed by Armenia Azerbaijan has lost thousands of its residents and thousands have become disabled, the country has lost 20 percent of its lands. ‘Although even today, our country runs the danger of this kind as Armenia’s masterminds keep on arming the country, but not a single inch will remain under Armenian occupation”, he said.

Mr. Abiyev added the problem was that the international community has not yet recognized Armenia as an aggressor; the United States’ annual aid to the country-aggressor exceeds more than twice the one rendered to Azerbaijan. “We consider US our strategic ally. Following the waiver of the Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, Azerbaijan - USA relations have warmed, and our links in many areas including military co-operation have strengthened. The conflict poses most serious threat to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum pipelines, so, must be solved promptly in the framework of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan”, the Minister said.

Then, Colonel-General S. Abiyev and the Congressmen exchanged views with on the today’s military-political situation in the South Caucasus region, Azerbaijan-NATO links etc.

Congressman C. Weldon thanked the Minister S. Abiyev for detailed information and reaffirmed the intention to actively co-operate with Azerbaijan. He said that establishment of official relations between the United States Congress and the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan would let keep Americans informed about real situation in Azerbaijan.

The meeting was attended by deputy Milli Majlis Chairman Ziyafat Askarov and charge' d'affaires Ms. Nancy McEldowney.

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