Azerbaijan News Digest

Greetings from the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Washington, DC. In this edition of the News Digest, you will find stories about progress toward peace in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan’s long history of multiculturalism and interviews with Foreign Minister Mammadyarov and Ambassador Suleymanov. To learn more about the Embassy’s activities, please remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

US welcomes meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia


The United States welcomed the recent meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Vienna with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, according to a statement published on the U.S. Department of State website.

"We commend the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan for this first step, and are encouraged they have agreed to a follow-up meeting in the months ahead," Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

According to Psaki, as their first meeting in almost two years, this summit is an important step toward restarting dialogue and demonstrates the leaders' shared commitment to bring an end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

UN Secretary General praises Azerbaijan's contributions toward addressing global challenges

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Ilham Aliyev on Nov. 26 on his reelection as Azerbaijan's president. "Excellency, I wish to convey my congratulations and best wishes upon your re-election as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. I look forward to our ongoing cooperation, including through the United Nations Country Team in Baku, on matters of mutual interest and I count on the commitment of Azerbaijan to the values and principles of the United Nations,” said the Secretary General.

Q&A Elmar Mammadyarov - Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Report Company

As Azerbaijan’s economic power rises, so too does its political clout regionally and globally. Blessed with vast oil and gas resources and a moderate, secular culture, Azerbaijan is increasingly becoming a key energy and security partner for Europe at the crossroads of East and West. Minister of foreign affairs Elmar Mammadyarov took the time to sit down with The Report Company and share the government’s vision for Azerbaijan as a key regional and global player.

State Department: U.S. and Azerbaijan have clear shared interests in building regional security

The U.S. and Azerbaijan have clear shared interests in building regional security, diversifying energy supplies, pursuing democratic and economic reforms, combating terrorism, and stemming the flow of illegal narcotics and weapons of mass destruction, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the U.S. State Department Eric Rubin said in an interview with Trend.

"We expect such cooperation to continue, and we look forward to opportunities to enhance the relationship between our two countries," he said.

Azerbaijan has best practices to combat human trafficking: OSCE

An international seminar organized by the OSCE Office on protection mechanisms for victims of human trafficking started in Baku on November 26. The two-day event aims to build the capacity for judges, prosecutors, and lawyers to prosecute human trafficking and forced labor, as well as protect the victims of trafficking.

In his opening speech, Ambassador Koray Targay, Head of the OSCE Office in Baku, praised Azerbaijani best practices in the fight against human trafficking. "The country has achieved good results in this sphere," he said. "Regional countries can use Azerbaijan's positive practices."

Interview on This is America with Dennis Wholey


Ambassador Suleymanov recently sat down with Dennis Wholey on PBS’s This is America to discuss the economic changes underway in Azerbaijan, its regional relationships, role in European energy security and more.

Azerbaijani President receives US congressmen

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev recently received a delegation of U.S. congressmen including Jim McDermott (D-WA), James Moran (D-VA), Billy Long (R-MO) and Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ).

President Ilham Aliyev said the visit by the U.S. congressmen was a good opportunity for them to familiarize themselves with Azerbaijan, and the congressmen praised rapid development processes in Azerbaijan.

Op-Ed: Don't write off Azerbaijan just yet
By Matthew Bryza, CNN

Thinking strategically about Azerbaijan doesn’t mean sacrificing Western values. Struggling reformers in Iran can look for inspiration to neighboring Azerbaijan, also a Shiite-majority country but one in which a 1,400 year-old Jewish community enjoys strong state support and where women gained the vote a year earlier than their American sisters. The United States and its European allies would be wise not to write off Azerbaijan, and instead pursue the full range of interests – and values – they share with this small, but strategically significant country.

Ambassador Elin Suleymanov attends discussions on Azerbaijan in Chicago

Azerbaijani ambassador to the United States Elin Suleymanov attended discussions on Azerbaijan at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Jewish Community Relations Council and American Jewish Committee's Chicago Committee.

Suleymanov made a presentation about Azerbaijan at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which is one of the most well known centers in the US for international relations. Introducing the ambassador, Niamh King, vice president of programs at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, spoke of Azerbaijan's achievements in last year, saying the country has become a leader in the region.

US State Department comments on anniversary of helicopter shootdown in Karabakh

November 20 marked the 22nd anniversary of the day that an Azerbaijani helicopter Mi-8 was shot by Armenian militants in the sky over Garakand village in Khojavand region of Azerbaijan.

Members of parliament of Azerbaijan and peacekeepers from Kazakhstan and Russia, who were heading for Khojavand to study the situation in the area of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, died as a result of the helicopter shootdown.

“The event was a tragic loss, one of many in that period. The tragic loss of life in the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia reminds us that there cannot be a military solution to the conflict,” said spokesperson for the US Department of State Jen Psaki. “Only a lasting and peaceful settlement can bring stability, prosperity, and reconciliation to the region.”

Azerbaijan ambassador comes to IU
IDS News


Elin Suleymanov walked through the University of Toledo in Ohio 21 years ago with a single suitcase and an empty wallet. It was Suleymanov’s first night in America, and he had nowhere to stay. Suleymanov spent many more nights in the country before becoming the ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States. Azerbaijan is a small country on the western end of central Eurasia, bordering Iran, Russia, Armenia, Turkey and Georgia. Suleymanov is twice the age of his country, which regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. He works in Washington, D.C., as ambassador but returned to the Midwest this week to meet with IU President Michael McRobbie, students and faculty in the hopes of strengthening the relationship between IU and Azerbaijan. McRobbie sat down with Suleymanov to discuss the new School of Global and International Studies. SGIS will enhance the existing focus IU has on central Eurasian studies, Suleymanov said.

The Future of Azerbaijan as an Energy and Cultural Crossroads
Indiana University Bloomington, School of Global and International Studies

On November 19th, 2013 Indiana University was proud to host Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States, Elin Suleymanov. Over 100 people attended the Ambassador’s talk, “The Future of Azerbaijan as an Energy and Cultural Crossroads”. A recurring theme was the unique position of Azerbaijan as the “crossroad of the East and the West”. Azerbaijan is bordered by Iran and Russia, two major presences that have influenced what Azerbaijan has become. The Turkic, Slavic, and Persian worlds intersect in Azerbaijan, and the country can also be considered as the border between Christianity and Islam, between Europe and the Middle East, and between Asia and Europe. The ambassador characterizes Azerbaijan as a Southeastern European nation that is proud of its close connections to Central Asia. As a relatively small country, the only way Azerbaijan can exist and succeed is by being an inclusive nation.

Religious Tolerance in Azerbaijan: Jews, Germans, Molokans, and the Udi of Nij
Harvard International Review

When we think about religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence between members of different religions, we usually think of wealthy and prosperous countries such as Canada, Australia, or Sweden, where immense religious diversity and high level of care for citizens’ rights prevent tensions between religious groups from arising. However, the latest report presented at the European Parliament has revealed that Azerbaijan, a much smaller and younger nation, has achieved such a high level of religious tolerance, so much so that it surpasses most advanced and wealthy countries in both the East and the West. According to some, Azerbaijan is among five of the most religiously tolerant countries in the world.

SOCAR to build largest port in Turkey


The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) plans to construct the largest and deepest port in Turkey by late 2014 - early 2015, SOCAR head Rovnag Abdullayev recently told journalists. According to Abdullayev, the new port will bring additional revenue to Petkim petrochemical complex, owned by SOCAR in Turkey. Currently, the area is being prepared for launching the construction of a container port. The Turkish prime minister intends to take part in the foundation laying ceremony.

Economic growth in Azerbaijan reaches 5.7%

In January-October GDP grew by 5.7% and reached AZN 47.6bn in Azerbaijan according to the State Statistical Committee. GDP in the oil and gas sector increased by 1%, in the non-oil sector by 9.8% compared to the same period of last year.

Azerbaijan’s National Flag Day marked in Houston


On November 9, Azerbaijani Center of Houston, TX held an official reception on the occasion of National Flag Day, a public holiday held in Azerbaijan to honor state flag of Azerbaijan. The event was enriched by traditional Azerbaijani food and music, and was co-organized by Azerbaijan Center of Houston and Assembly of Friends of Azerbaijan. Attending the event were members of the US Congress, Texas legislature, diplomatic corps and other dignitaries

Bakutel 2013 presents: Titan the Robot visits Azerbaijan and the CIS

Bakutel 2013, the largest telecommunication and IT exhibition in the Caspian region will open on December 2 at the Baku Expo Centre. The exhibition is one of the most important platforms for displaying achievements in the high tech sector. In honor of the Year of Information and Communication Technology in Azerbaijan, the organizers have prepared many exciting surprises to celebrate this important event, including Titan the Robot, a 2.5 meter tall robot that will greet guests.

Read more about Azerbaijan’s Year of Information and Communication Technology here.

Multiculturalism is a state policy of Azerbaijan – President

On 15 November, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the opening ceremony of the Orthodox Religious and Cultural Center of the Baku and Azerbaijani diocese. “We are restoring all the religious monuments, and Azerbaijan is a country which intersects the religions and the people who have always lived in peace, harmony and cooperation,” said President Aliyev. “Multiculturalism is a state policy of Azerbaijan. It's also a way of life.”

Azerbaijan: A Good Friend of Israel and the Jewish People
Jewish Post

Ambassador Suleymanov recently sat with Henry Levy of the Jewish Post to discuss the strong economic and cultural relationship between Azerbaijan and Israel. “We are a proud nation with a Muslim heritage, we are an active member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and we have strong relations among the Muslim community,” said Ambassador Suleymanov. “At the same time we believe that the Israelis are our friends. We fundamentally do not see a contradiction in being a proud Muslim country and a friend of Israel.”

Azerbaijani ambassador discusses close relationship with U.S. and Israel
Jewish United Fund

Israel and the United States have a little-known ally in an equally little-known region of the world – Azerbaijan. “Azerbaijan stands as a friend of the United States and a friend of Israel in a very difficult neighborhood,” said Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States. Suleymanov was the guest speaker at a lunch meeting of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago on Nov. 21.

Azerbaijani wines and brandies presented in U.S.
Azeri America News

The first Azerbaijani Wine Tasting event was held in Washington, D.C. on November 21. The event was jointly organized by the United States – Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) and Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO). The event introduced a variety of wines and brandies imported exclusively by wine producers of Azerbaijan, namely Absheron Sharab, ASPI Wineries, Az-Qranata, Caspian Coast, VinAgro Goy-Gol and Sherq Ulduzu. The guests were served with white and red wines made of indigenous sorts of Azerbaijani grapes such as Bayan Shira, Matrasa in addition to locally grown sorts of famous wine grapes as Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz, Muscat and Cabernet Sauvignon.


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