Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 10
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent made an official visit to Baku on October 9 and 10.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbahzov, members of Azerbaijan’s business community, and representatives of political opposition and civil society.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent addressed a number of important issues in his meetings, and reaffirmed the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor, an important element of ensuring energy security for Europe and economic independence for Azerbaijan.
He discussed in his meetings Azerbaijan’s significant contributions in Afghanistan, our shared counterterrorism goals in the region, and international efforts to prevent Iran from pursuing its illegal nuclear weapons program.
He also discussed the potential for more U.S. and Azerbaijani cooperation to support Azerbaijan’s economic diversification plans through increased investment in agriculture, tourism, transportation and logistics, and information technology, highlighting opportunities for U.S. companies to invest in those efforts.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, including the non-use or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples. As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the US welcomes all efforts by the sides to reduce tensions and move towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Mr. Kent raised the importance of respect for fundamental freedoms in his official meetings, including freedom of assembly, respect for the rule of law, and the fight against corruption, to ensure prosperity and security for all people of Azerbaijan and to further deepen our bilateral partnership.