U.S., Azerbaijan Discuss Military Pilot Training

Azerbaijan's deputy defense minister Ramiz Tahirov (right) with Deputy Commander of the U.S. National Guard (center) on Apr. 13

Azerbaijan’s deputy defense minister, who is also the country’s air force commender, is visiting the United States and has met with American officials to discuss widening military cooperation.

Ramiz Tahirov, the Azerbaijani official, met on Thursday with Deputy Commander of the U.S. National Guard, Lieutenant General Marc H. Sasseville, the Azerbaijani defense ministry said in a statement. The two discussed training of Azerbaijani military pilots in the U.S., as well as “other issues of mutual interest.”

Earlier Tahirov had met with the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., with whom he had discussed military cooperation and regional security issues, AzerNews.az reported.

The meeting comes less than a week after the U.S. Intelligence Community issued a report in which it singled out Azerbaijan as an “aggressor” in the region.

The discussion of expanding military relations with Baku also goes counter to Congressional appeals to the departments of State and Defense, as well as the White House about cutting military assistance to Azerbaijan and maintaining the Section 907 provisions of the Freedom Support Act.