BAKU: Condoleeza Rice: USA considers Azerbaijan close friend & ally

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan State Info Agency
July 23 2004

[July 23, 2004, 22:15:35]

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov who is
staying with a working visit in Washington on the invitation of the
US State Secretary Colin Powell, on July 22 and 23 has carried out a
number of meetings in the capital of US.

As the correspondent of AzerTAj informs, during the discussions which
have been carried out with the assistant of the State Secretary on
Europe and Eurasia affairs Elizabeth Jones, the assistant on
military-political affairs Lincoln Bloomfield, the assistant on
democracy, human rights and work by Michael Cossack, the Ambassador
Plenipotentiary on international religious freedom John Hanford, Mr.
Elmar Mammadyarov has in detail informed about carried out in
Azerbaijan political and economic reforms, integration of our country
into the NATO and other European structures, the steps undertaken by
the government in the direction of improvement of situation,
connected with human rights. The sides have carried out exchange of
opinions on a wide spectrum of relations between the USA and

At the meeting with the American co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group
and the adviser on diplomacy of the Caspian basin Steven Mann,
discussed were ways of settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorny
Karabakh conflict and power projects carried out in our region.

Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov also has met assistant to the US President on
national security affairs Condoleezza Rice. Madam Rice has thanked
the Azerbaijan side for the support rendered to struggle against
global terror. Having expressed satisfaction with development of
connections between our countries, Ms. Rice has told: `The United
States considers Azerbaijan its `close friend and ally’.

Elmar Mammadyarov has told about situation in the complex geo-politic
region in which Azerbaijan is located, about reforms carried out in
our country. The Minister has noted, that the relations between
Azerbaijan and the USA continue to remain at the level of strategic

The sides also have had exchange of views on development and
transportation of power resources of the Caspian basin, programs of
the US assistance in region of Southern Caucasus, relations of
Azerbaijan with the next states. The Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorny
Karabakh conflict was one of themes of negotiations. Condoleezza Rice
has emphasized, that the US are interested in the immediate peace
settlement of the problem and as the intermediary in the given area
would support efforts on search of ways of settlement of the

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan has met also Congressmen –
James Gibbon and chairman of subcommittee on external operations of
the House of Representatives by James Coble. On discussions with
American legislators, Elmar Mammadyarov has emphasized, that the
decision of the Congress on granting in 2005 fiscal year of the
military aid to Azerbaijan and Armenia in the identical size has not
been unequivocally perceived in the country. He has stated: `While
from first day of antiterrorist struggle Azerbaijan shows real
support to the US, the Congress’s similar decisions directs the
public of our country false political message. In reply to it, the
Congressmen have noted, that they would try to bring to the notice of
their colleagues the position of Azerbaijan in the said question.

Elmar Mammadyarov also met the board of editors of the newspaper
`Washington Times’, has answered their numerous questions.

The American-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce has held a reception in
honor of Minister of Foreign Affairs of our country. On reception,
there were representatives of a diplomatic corps in Washington, the
governmental structures of the US, the non-governmental

On July 24, Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov is to come back to Baku.