PRIME MINISTER OF AZERBAIJAN REPUBLIC MEETS U.S. CONGRESS DELEGATION
Having warmly greeted the guests, Ilham Aliyev said US-Azerbaijan relationship was developing in variety of spheres very efficaciously and intensively, and that the huge energy projects implemented in Azerbaijan would have not been realized without U.S. Government’s support. According to the Prime Minister, apart from the fact that the United States is the largest investor in Azerbaijan’s economy, today’s bilateral co-operation is on a high level in other spheres too including joint combat against terrorism and the Azerbaijan’s unambiguous support of the U.S. actions in Iraq. ‘Now we are in coalition and want to further develop the co-operation between our countries’, he said.
Touching upon upcoming presidential election in the country, Ilham Aliyev noted the Government had declared more than once that it would do its best to ensure fair and transparent election. ‘So, Azerbaijan is about to take one more huge step towards democracy,’ he stressed.
Having expressed his gratitude for the warm reception, the head of the American delegation Kurt Weldon highly appreciated the Premier’s knowledge of languages and noted it was a great honor for him to meet with the internationally recognized leader. He said he had been deeply impressed by the meetings with President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev, who is now being treated by U.S. best doctors, and on behalf of the delegation and the whole American people, wished the president speedy recovery and return to homeland.
Mr. Weldon said although his delegation comprises both republicans and democrats from New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas, they have a common goal to open a new page in the development of U.S.- Azerbaijan ties.
He described as very important to establish bilateral relations between the U.S. Congress and Parliament of Azerbaijan, and stressed the need for founding a special structure responsible for that. This structure, according to Mr. Weldon, would allow not only to gather sufficient information about Azerbaijan but also to arrange its activity on an appropriate level. He reported a structure responsible for links with Azerbaijan had already been formed in the Congress; after being informed on the situation in Azerbaijan, the structure will familiarize other Congressmen with it that in its turn will arouse more interest in the country.
The head of the U.S. delegation stressed the importance of the co-operation in all spheres including agriculture, healthcare, education, economy, ecology, defense and culture, and told of the intention to create necessary funds to promote realization of joint work to bring the abovementioned fields to the appropriate level.
Mr. Weldon emphasized as well that not the White House but the Congress had initiated this visit aimed to render direct assistance to Azerbaijani researchers and their collaboration with American specialists for development of sophisticated technologies that implies new economic opportunities.
In conclusion, Congressman Weldon congratulated Ilham Aliyev on the new appointment and expressed confidence that like his father, he would be faithful to the country, serve it with honor and ensure its development down the road.
Prime-Minister Ilham Aliyev thanked the guests for the kind words and said in particular that what is taking play here today is a historical moment indicating the beginning of a new stage of the two countries’ inter-parliamentary relations, expressed confidence that direct contacts between the Congressmen and members of the Milli Majlis would promote better mutual understanding, and it would be realized what the country needs, what its objective is and which path it has chosen.
He appreciated the group’s intention to carry out many-sided activity from agriculture to education, and expressed opinion that there is a great potential for co-operation to achieve the common goals.
The prime-Minister once again thanked the quests for visiting Azerbaijan and described relationship with the United States of America as Azerbaijan‘s main priority. ‘For us, the USA is a strategic partner’, he said.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman of the Milli Majlis Ziyafat Asgarov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Araz Azimov, Chairman of the Milli Majlis Standing Committee for International and Inter-parliamentary Relations Samed Seyidov, U.S. Charge' d'affaires Nancy McEldowney.
After the meeting, Prime-Minister Ilham Aliyev answered the questions from journalists.