ELMAR MAMMADYAROV VISITING WASHINGTON
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov is visiting the United States of America at the invitation of the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Azertaj’s Washington-based correspondent said.
As part of his visit, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister met with Republican leader of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Richard Lugar.
During the conversation, Mr. Mammadyarov offered to create a trade attaché office at the U.S. Embassy in Baku to strengthen the bilateral trade relations between his country and the United States.
Speaking on the Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, Elmar Mammadyarov said the fact the unfair Section has not been yet repealed, does not serve the interests of Azerbaijan and the USA.
The Minister called on Senator Richard Lugar to make all possible efforts towards the repeal of the Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.
Mr. Lugar recalled his meeting with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.
Elmar Mammadyarov and Richard Lugar also discussed the current peace talks regarding the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, and Azerbaijan’s role in the region.
The Minister also met with the member of the House Committee on Appropriations, Congresswoman Nita Lowey.
As part of his visit, Mr. Mammadyarov also made a stop at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he gave a speech on Azerbaijan’s regional and international role.
During his speech, the Azerbaijani FM described his country as a regional leader.
He said the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipelines projects guarantee the stability and prosperity of countries participating in them.
“Over last years, we speak about billions, and not millions, when we speak about figures concerning Azerbaijan”.
The Minister said Azerbaijan’s Government is investing its oil revenues in development of infrastructure and non-oil sector.
“One of our first ideas was to use our rare geographical situation. Azerbaijan decided to finance the Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Qars railway project. By estimation, reconstruction of existing railways needs $600 million, and can be completed within eighteen months. The new infrastructure will create new jobs and new services. By implementing projects in the fields of agriculture, education and information and communication technologies we will escape the Holland syndrome”, the Azerbaijani Minister said.
On Armenia’s participation in the regional projects, Elmar Mammadyarov said the country remains aside of the regional improvement.
“The things are moving. We invite Armenia to join regional states. But Armenia will not participate in any project until the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not resolved”, the Minister added.
Elmar Mammadyarov also touched upon his recent meeting with Armenian counterpart in Geneva.
“Armenia must understand that sooner or later it should withdraw from occupied Azerbaijani territories, and all refugees and internally displaced persons should return to their homelands…”, Elmar Mammadyarov said.
The Azerbaijani FM will meet with Condoleeza Rice on Thursday, and the two countries will sign a memorandum of understanding to establish energy dialog.
Azerbaijan and the USA will set up a working group, which will deal with energy security issues.
The Azerbaijani FM’s Washington visit also includes meetings with top-ranked officials at the Congress, White House, State Department and Pentagon.
Mr. Mammadyarov will also meet with American businessmen and representatives of non-governmental organizations.