BAKU: Agenda of senior US official’s visit to region

Azeri agency details agenda of senior US official’s visit to region

26 Mar 04


Speaking at a media briefing, [US] Assistant Secretary of State for
Europe and Eurasia Elizabeth Jones has disclosed details of the visit
of US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to Ukraine, Armenia
and Azerbaijan on 24 March.

“Armitage has been preparing for this visit for a long time. The goal
of the visit is to discuss ways to develop bilateral relations with
top officials of each of the three countries,” she underlined.

Touching upon the Baku meetings, the US official noted that issues of
cooperation in fighting terrorism, political and economic reforms,
energy issues and the situation in the region would be on the agenda.

“It is the first time US officials will be holding such a high-level
meeting in Azerbaijan since Ilham Aliyev’s election as president of
Azerbaijan. From this standpoint, the United States is interested in
studying the priority directions of the new president and his
government’s activity. Relations between Richard Armitage and Ilham
Aliyev lay a good groundwork for talks. Armitage is also expected to
meet leaders of the opposition and NGOs.”

Touching upon the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict, Elizabeth Jones said
that a settlement to the conflict would be on the agenda of both the
Azerbaijani and Armenian visits. “By getting familiarized with the
opinion in the region, we want to ascertain how the international
community could support the activity of the [OSCE] Minsk Group [for
the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict],” she stressed.