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306 words - August 7, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
"We view Azerbaijan as a country of tremendous potential and we want Azerbaijan to succeed in its goal of developing into a modern democracy and a regional and global leader," US Assistant Secretary Howard Gordon had summed up in remarks on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of US-Azerbaijan bilateral relations in February 2012.
Since then, these relations have kept expanding on three main levels:
Firstly, in the field of energy in which the US shares Azerbaijan's goal of establishing a southern corridor in natural gas exports to Europe.
Secondly, Afghanistan where Azerbaijan provides "provides key ground, air, and transit access for the logistical sustainment of international efforts in Afghanistan as part of a complex network of supply lines, playing an important role in the diversification of those supply lines," US Department of Defense (DOD) officials said on the occasion of the visit of Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev to the Pentagon on August 6. With Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Mr. Abiyev "agreed to continue to work together on issues to include North Atlantic Treaty Organization interoperability, counterterrorism, defense transformation and maritime security." They also talked about Iran, but no further details have been made available.
Thirdly, as co-chair of the Minsk Group, Secretary of State John Kerry said in June, "the United States has a serious interest in helping Azerbaijan and Armenia to be able to find a path forward." His counterpart, Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov agreed on the necessary change to the "statu quo", however Mr. Mammadyarov stressed "Armenian armed forces should be withdrawn from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan."
By sustaining the deployment of some forces with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF/NATO), and thanks to its energy resources, Azerbaijan has gained strategic significance for US' policy in the Caucasus region.
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