Azerbaijan News Digest

Greetings and Happy Novruz from the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Washington, DC. In this edition of the News Digest, you will find stories about Azerbaijan's commitment to Ukranian territorial integrity, Azerbaijani contributions to European security, and recent Azerbaijani charity work in the US. To learn more about the Embassy’s activities, please remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Azerbaijan supports UN resolution on Ukraine

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) on March 27 adopted a resolution affirming its commitment to Ukraine's territorial integrity and urging all parties to strive for peaceful resolution of the Ukranian crisis "through direct political dialogue." Azerbaijan, Benin, Bulgaria, Chile, Greece, Iceland, Libya, New Zealand, Sweden and the US are among the countries that voted in favor of the draft resolution, while Armenia, Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Russia, Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe voted against.

UN Passes Resolution Calling Crimean Referendum Invalid
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution on the "territorial integrity of Ukraine" declaring Crimea's recent secession vote invalid. One hundred countries voted in favor of the resolution, with 11 against and 58 abstaining. The 11 that opposed the resolution were Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. While Armenia voted against the resolution, Azerbaijan voted in favor. Azerbaijan says the Nagorno-Karabakh territory currently under Armenian control rightfully belongs to Azerbaijan.

Pipeline Problems: Ukraine Isn't Europe's Biggest Energy Risk
Foreign Affairs

Europeans have focused on bringin more eastern pipeline gas into the continent. At the end of 2013, the EU took an important step in this direction with the establishment of the Southern Gas Corridor. This pipeline will begin in Azerbaijan's massive Shah Deniz gas field and end in Italy, connecting seven different countries. The project will reach some of Europe's most vulnerable nations and most likely help lower gas prices there. In doing so, it will edge out coal once more and help lower pollution and carbon emissions.

Ukranian MFA thanks Baku in Azerbaijani

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Ukraine has thanked Azerbaijan for its support in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the Crimean referendum. The tweet reads Azərbaycanlı dostlarımız, dəstəyinizə görə sizə təşəkkür edirik, or “Azerbaijani friends, thank you for your support.”  The UN resolution, adopted March 27, calls on the global community to reject the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Azerbaijan committed to strengthening nuclear security in the region and the world: President

President Ilham Aliyev addressed a plenary meeting at the Third Nuclear Security Summit held March 24-25 in The Hague. The summit is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the globe, and President Aliyev noted that his country is actively cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on many aspects of nuclear security. He also said that Azerbaijan supports UN efforts to strengthen the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and recently presented to the US its new report on further steps toward non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and their means of delivery.

Azerbaijan invests nearly $12 billion abroad in 2013: CBA

Azerbaijan invested $11.8 billion abroad in 2013, as shown by the 2013 balance of payments published by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA). The amount was generated through direct investments ($1.478 billion), portfolio investments ($322.8 million), and other investments ($9.959 billion). The 2013 balance of payments also shows that the total volume of foreign direct investment in Azerbaijan's economy amounted to $6.3 million in 2013.

Azerbaijan to expand representation in NATO

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense announced its plans to increase the number of its officer serving in NATO. The increase, to take place during summer 2014, supports Azerbaijan's aspirations to achieve Euro-Atlantic standards and achieve closer ties with Euro-Atlantic institutions. In this regard, supporting security sector reform and establishing democratic institutions are the key elements of NATO-Azerbaijani cooperation.

AJC Delegation Meets Azerbaijani President, Foreign Minister in Baku
American Jewish Committee

An American Jewish Committee (AJC) delegation concluded a three-day visit to Baku on March 4. This was AJC's fourth visit to the nation since 2008 and fifth meeting with President Ilham Aliyev. The main topics of discussion included Azerbaijani-US and Azerbaijani-Israeli relations, as well as recent developments in the region, including the current situation in Ukraine. "Sandwiched throughout much of its history among the Persian, Ottoman, and Russian empires, the independence, development, and potential we witnessed in Baku is truly something to behold," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "We shall eagerly look forward to our next visit."

Heydar Aliyev Foundation presents joint charity project in the US

A joint project by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the charitable organization Save a Child's Heart (SACH) was presented in Washington, DC on April 1. Jamila Pashayeva-Seyidzadeh, representing the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in the US, informed the attendees about the foundation's activities. David Litwack, SACH Executive Director, said that thanks to the cooperation with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Azerbaijan will be the 49th country to cooperate with SACH. He added that over 2,000 children's lives have been saved since SACH was founded in 1995.

Azerbaijan's successful debut sovereign Eurobond placement shows investors' confidence

Azerbaijan's successful debut sovereign Eurobond placement amid regional unrest reflects investors' confidence in the balanced management of oil revenues, said Raja Almarzoqi, an Advisor at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in Baku on March 17. The debut $1.25 billion Eurobond has an interest rate of five percent and a loan repayment date of 2024.

US Congress' Working Group on Azerbaijani member-list expands

The number of members in the Working Group on Azerbaijan of the 113th Congress has reached 63 as Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL) joined the group. Miller represents Florida's first district, serving since 2001. The Working Group has been playing an important role in strengthening partnership between the two countries since it was established ten years ago.

Azerbaijan to invest in broadband infrastructure development

The Azerbaijani government will invest about $500 million in the development of broadband Internet infrastructure.  Ali Abbasov, Azerbaijani Minister of Communications and High Technologies, recently announced the investment plan at the Broadband Communication for Sustainable Development Conference held in Dubai as part of the sixth World Conference on Communication Development of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).  “Azerbaijan supports intensifying and broadening international cooperation in the development of broadband communication,” Mr. Abbasov said.  The priority is to connect the country's educational institutions to broadband Internet.

FAA Announces the Republic of Azerbaijan's Aviation Safety Rating
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on March 7 that the Republic of Azerbaijan complies with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and has been granted a Category 1 rating. With the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Category 1 rating, the Republic of Azerbaijan's air carriers can add flights and service to the US and carry the codes of US carriers.

Azerbaijan marks Novruz holiday

Novruz, the holiday widely celebrated in Azerbaijan as the start of spring, occured on March 20. The first day of spring is determined by the annual circling of the sun. According to scientists, the holiday has ancient roots and some date Novruz celebrations between 3,500 and 5,000 years ago.



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