Azerbaijan has been and remains an important partner for the United States, Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert F. Cekuta said in a lecture titled U.S. Foreign Policy and U.S. – AZ Relations” at Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy University (ADA).
He said that values of freedom, equality, and democracy are a key aspect of our relations today.
The ambassador said the U.S. has long recognized Azerbaijan as a stalwart partner advancing international security.
“Americans remember that following the attacks of September 11, 2001, President Heydar Aliyev was among the first to extend a hand of support and to offer his country’s close cooperation in our efforts to combat terrorism. That important and deeply valued cooperation in fighting terrorism and violent extremism continues. Moreover, U.S. and Azerbaijani troops have served together in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo. Thousands of flights have crossed Azerbaijan’s airspace en route to Afghanistan, and thousands of containers have departed Baku in support of the International Security Assistance Force. While we have done a lot, there is still more that can be done in areas of security cooperation, such as strengthening border security, non-proliferation, and countering human trafficking, that will yield great benefits,” he noted.
The U.S. and Azerbaijan have cooperated for more than twenty years on energy security, the ambassador said, adding that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the progress on the Southern Corridor for gas represent powerful symbols of Azerbaijan’s commitment to global energy security – a key element of international efforts to diversify energy routes and sources for European countries.
“We also support Azerbaijan in its efforts to diversify its economy further and to develop agriculture, information technologies, tourism, and other sectors, and to help Azerbaijan develop its transportation and other infrastructure as part of the Greater Silk Road project. Just as we continue our security and economic cooperation, however, we must also work with Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis on advancing democratic institutions and processes, strengthening rule of law, and upholding basic human rights because these three fronts are all interconnected. I would argue that in any country if the people feel their government is accountable to them and that they can say or think what they want, there will be stability and economic growth,” he said.
Cekuta further said that the U.S. wants to see a strong, prosperous, stable, and democratic Azerbaijan, noting this has been the goal of our diplomatic relations and will remain so.