Greetings from the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Washington, DC. In this edition of the News Digest, you will find articles about Azerbaijan’s participation last week at the United Nations General Assembly and in the Caspian Forum in New York, as well as on its preparations for the upcoming Presidential election. To learn more about the Embassy’s activities, please remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
October 2, 2013
Busy week in New York
Ambassador’s Diary, Embassy of Azerbaijan
Just as Azerbaijan had been preparing to assume the UN Security Council presidency on October 1, the Azerbaijani delegation led by Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov had a very busy week during the UN General Assembly focusing on a wide-ranging agenda from global issues to energy and culture. In addition to holding numerous bilateral meetings and presenting at the General Assembly debates, Mr. Mammadyarov also participated in high-level meetings of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and GUAM. As a member of the UN Security Council, Azerbaijan co-sponsored the Council’s resolution on Syria and reiterated its strong condemnation of any use of chemical weapons.
The week’s special highlights included the well-attended Caspian Forum organized by the Caspian Strategy Institute, which brought together regional leaders to discuss Europe’s energy security, and opening of the ‘Azerbaijan: Land of Tolerance’ exhibition by the world-famous master of photography Reza at the United Nations Headquarters.
Foreign Minister: Azerbaijan strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria
"Azerbaijan strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria, particularly the killing of civilians that resulted from it,” Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said delivering a speech at the UN General Assembly.
Resolution 2118 (2013) affirmed that the use of chemical weapons constitutes a serious violation of international law and also qualified such act as a threat to international peace and security.
"We welcome the adoption yesterday of Security Council resolution 2118 (2013) regarding the safeguarding and destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles. We hope that the unanimous and strong position demonstrated by the Council will contribute to finding a political solution to the conflict in Syria, putting an end to the suffering inflicted on the Syrian people and ensuring compliance by the parties concerned with their obligations and commitments under international law,” Minister said.
Caspian Forum in New York focuses on Southern Gas Corridor
New York hosted the Caspian Forum 2013, organized by the Caspian Strategy Institute (HASEN) on September 25, and the Southern Gas Corridor, which includes the Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic (TAP) gas pipeline projects, was high on the agenda.
Speaking at the opening of the forum, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said that the Southern Gas Corridor project will bring stability, security and predictability to the region. "This pipeline has strategic importance and a strong impact on the whole region," Mammadyarov said. According to him, the gas pipeline will provide not only gas transportation but also real independence of the country.
Azerbaijan - Land of Tolerance
The UN Alliance of Civilizations, citing Azerbaijan's appreciation for diversity, historically and currently, requested the traveling photo exhibit, "Azerbaijan - Land of Tolerance.” Award-winning photographer, Sot Reza Deghati, produced the exhibit to showcase the thriving Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities of Azerbaijan today. The exhibit will be on display at the UN for the public and diplomats to see and learn from.
Azerbaijan to take over UN Security Council Presidency again
Azerbaijan will take over the UN Security Council Presidency from Australia on October 1. This is Azerbaijan’s second presidency of the UN Security Council. Azerbaijan was elected non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the first time in October 2011 and presided over the Security Council in May 2012.
Next unit of Azerbaijani peacekeepers to leave for Afghanistan
The next unit of Azerbaijani peacekeeping contingent will leave for Afghanistan on October 1, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry told APA. Azerbaijani peacekeepers will serve under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan till April 2014. The peacekeeping contingent of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces has been serving under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan since November 2002. Currently, 94 Azerbaijani servicemen are serving under the Turkish contingent in ISAF operation.
Flight 93 National Memorial Groundbreaking Ceremony
Azerbaijan American Alliance
Mr. Anar Mammadov, Founder of the Azerbaijan America Alliance, and other dignitaries, including US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, were in attendance at Tuesday’s groundbreaking for the new 6,800-foot visitor’s center at the Flight 93 National Memorial, which will also feature a new learning center and a symbolic Tower of Voices with 40 wind chimes, each representing a person lost in the crash of United Airlines Flight 93.
"I am pleased today that I can give a special thanks to Mr. Mammadov, who is the founder of the Azerbaijan America Alliance," said King Laughlin, Flight 93 Campaign Manager. "Mr. Mammadov and the Alliance have given tremendous support to this project and to its construction, and we extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to him and the nation of Azerbaijan for that. It shows us that this story is not one just about Pennsylvania and not just about America, but it's really a worldwide story for anyone who is touched by the story of Flight 93 and who cares about freedom and liberty and that this place will always stand for that."
Ambassador: U.S. wants immediate conclusion to Azerbaijan WTO talks
The U.S. wants an immediate conclusion to bilateral negotiations with Azerbaijan on its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar said on Thursday at an event dedicated to the completion of the "Competition and Trade in Azerbaijan" project. The project, with a total cost of $22 million, was co-financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Azerbaijani government.
"The U.S strongly supports Azerbaijan's accession to the WTO and believes that bilateral negotiations will be completed in the near future. Azerbaijan's accession to this organization will contribute to the development of the non-oil sector of its economy, which is a priority of the Azerbaijani government," Morningstar said.
Oklahoma praises cooperation with Azerbaijan
Governor of Oklahoma Mary Fallin, chairman of the State Senate Brian Bingman and State Senator Tom Ivester issued a statement in connection with the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma National Guard's cooperation with Azerbaijan, the U.S. embassy in Azerbaijan reported. The Oklahoma National Guard has been maintaining partnership with Azerbaijan since 2003 under the US State Partnership Program (SPP).
Pieces moving into place for Azerbaijan-to-Europe gas pipeline
Oil and Gas Journal
Prospects for completing a natural gas pipeline from Azerbaijan to Europe improved significantly in June when the Shah Deniz consortium selected the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) proposal as the project’s final link, experts at a Sept. 13 Jamestown Foundation forum agreed.
“Greece will be the first EU member to receive Caspian gas,” said Anthony Livanios, chief executive of Energy Stream CMG GMBH in Frankfurt. “It will strengthen Europe’s energy market and stabilize the eastern Mediterranean by increasing cooperation between Turkey and Greece. TAP has been the best economic news in Greece in the last 5 years because of the additional gas supplies and the transit fees it will collect.”
United States Ambassador met with CEC Chairman
Central Election Commission
United States Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar met with CEC Chairman Mazahir Panahov at the Central Election Commission on September 12, 2013. The ambassador inquired about the implemented activities and drafted projects for the current stage of the elections.
Stating that the candidates’ registration period is coming to an end, the chairman highlighted that the pre-election campaign would begin on September 16. The chairman spoke about the measures taken to conduct the upcoming elections in accordance with democratic principles.
Polling stations are ready to hold transparent elections – CEC chairman
In order to determine readiness for holding democratic and transparent elections, all 125 constituencies have been monitored, CEC Chairman Mazahir Panahov told reporters recently. "About 5,300 permanent and 219 temporary polling stations are fully prepared for the elections," said Panahov. Additionally, cameras are mounted in 20% of polling stations.
Panahov also pointed out that polling stations were set up in all the diplomatic missions of Azerbaijan abroad. "With these polling stations Azerbaijani citizens living abroad can take part in the elections," he said.
U.S. Pollster to Take the Pulse of Azerbaijan's Election
U.S. polling firm Arthur J. Finkelstein & Associates will conduct an exit poll for the October 9th Presidential election in Azerbaijan.
The company has been invited to Azerbaijan by its local media partner APA Holding. Arthur J. Finkelstein & Associates has been an influential player in U.S. politics since the 1960s and has worked with politicians including Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan as well as Senators, Congressmen and Governors at home, and abroad in countries such as England, Austria, Israel, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
"It has been a privilege to work with young nations where the political and electoral systems are quite rightly under scrutiny from more mature democracies," said Finkelstein Executive Director Barbara Fiala. "We look forward to the coming weeks."
Voyager 1 leaves solar system, carrying piece of Azeri music
NASA's Voyager 1 has left the solar system carrying a disc that contains a piece of Azerbaijani music, as well as works by renowned composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Stravinsky.
A gold-plated audio and video disc includes information about the location of Earth in the solar system, as well as music, images and sounds from our planet. Nearly 80 per cent of the records is music by many cultures of the world, including Azeri music for balaban, a cylindrical-bore, double-reed wind instrument about 35 cm long. It was recorded by Radio Moscow.
Azerbaijani architect became winner of fifth annual American Residential Design Awards
Azerbaijani architect Ilgar O. Aliyev was a winner in the fifth annual American Residential Design Awards (ARDA) in Pasadena, California. Aliyev was awarded the Second Place trophy in Conceptual Design for his project of a large family house.
lgar O. Aliyev is a member of Azerbaijani Architects Union, member of American Institute of Building Design and professor of the Azerbaijani Architecture and Construction University. For the last 20 years he constructed over 80 private low-storey houses and over 50 interiors.