Greetings 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 relationships with the United States and Israel, promotions for the new flights between Baku and New York City, “National Geographic Azerbaijan” and Baku’s hosting duties for several international sporting events. To learn more about the Embassy’s activities, please remember to like us on Facebook
and follow us on Twitter.
20th Anniversary of "Contract of the Century" Celebrated in Washington, DC
The US-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce (USACC), the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the US, BP and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) hosted a reception at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC on September 17 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the "Contract of the Century." Signed September 20, 1994, the contract marks the beginning of Azerbaijan's energy diversification policy, initiated by the late president Heydar Aliyev, and symbolizes the success that Azerbaijan has gained through regional and international partnerships.
Baku American Center reopens after renovations
Rafik Mansour, Senior Deputy Director for Public Affairs in Europe and Eurasia at the US Department of State, Dereck Hogan, Charge d`Affaires at the US Embassy in Baku and Samed Seyidov, Rector of the Azerbaijan University of Languages (AUL), officially reopened the Baku American Center (BAC) on September 16 after major renovations concluded. Mr. Hogan hailed the modernized BAC as an important component of the strategic cooperation between the two states.
Baku to host groundbreaking ceremony of Southern Gas Corridor on September 20
On September 20, Baku will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the Southern Gas Corridor Extension. Rovnag Abdullayev, President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), said that “this step plans for the transportation of Shah Deniz gas to Turkey through the Sangachal terminal, and thereafter to Europe.”
US official hails Azerbaijan's progress on religious tolerance and preventing extremism
Derek Hogan, Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Baku, stated that Azerbaijan has made significant progress in the areas of religious tolerance and in the prevention of extremism. Mr. Hogan noted that one of the ways to combat terrorism is to cooperate with the Azerbaijani government, as there is a need to educate and train professionals working in counterterrorism and anti-money laundering.
American Jewish Committee hosts event on Azerbaijani-Israeli relations
The American Jewish Committee (AJC), together with Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov and Israel Ambassador to Azerbaijan Rafael Harpaz, held an event on September 14 to highlight the countries’ growing relations. The event follows several important Israeli-Azerbaijani milestones, as Israel ratified a visa facilitation agreement between the two countries on the same day of the event, and upon his arrival to Baku on September 10, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was the first in his position to visit Azerbaijan since 1948. Please click here to view pictures from the event.
Israel's most valuable Muslim ally
In early September, Rabbi Mark Diamond met with two distinguished Los Angeles-based diplomats, Consul General of Israel David Siegel and Consul General of Azerbaijan Nasimi Aghayev to discuss the unique story of Azerbaijan, a Muslim nation that enjoys positive relations with the United States, Israel and its own Jewish community. Rabbi Diamond writes that Azerbaijan “is home to one of the largest all-Jewish towns outside Israel, the centuries-old Red Village… [and] Baku features a state-of-the-art Jewish day school with more than 300 students.”
How to deal with Islamic State? Promote inclusiveness and tolerance
The Times of Israel
Author Maayan Jaffe asks, “What should be done to promote progress and reform in the Muslim world?” and notes that Muslims live not just in the Middle East, but around the globe. Specifically, Azerbaijan—the only predominantly Muslim nation in the European part of the former Soviet Union—has for centuries been a home to an inclusive and diverse society, including Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others. With Azerbaijan being the only country in the world bordering both Russia and Iran, its Muslim community—including both Shia and Sunni—presents a model whose importance is hard to overestimate.
Azerbaijan's US envoy responds to NYT comment
Azerbaijan News Network
Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov penned a letter to the editor in The New York Times on September 12 supporting American-Israeli scholar Brenda Shaffer’s September 9 article, in which she calls for a more active US engagement in resolving the protracted Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. However, Ambassador Suleymanov notes that Armenia should be identified as the real aggressor and that the best way to move the peace process forward is to begin the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.
Transatlantic Alliance: NATO Summit and Energy Security in Light of the Ukraine Crisis
Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov participated in a panel event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), titled “Transatlantic Alliance: NATO Summit and Energy Security in Light of the Ukraine Crisis” on September 17. Fellow panelists included Zygimantas Pavilionis, Lithuanian Ambassador to the US and Mexico, and François Rivasseau, Director and Senior Fellow, CSIS Energy and National Security Program. Please click here to watch the video.
Ya'alon Becomes First Israeli Defense Minister to Visit Azerbaijan
Israel National News
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon arrived in Azerbaijan on September 17, becoming the first Israeli defense minister ever to visit the country. Ya'alon is to hold a two-day historic diplomatic visit in Baku with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov and other Azeri officials. "I'm happy to be hosted here in the first historical visit of an Israeli defense minister in Azerbaijan," said Ya'alon upon landing in Baku.
Azerbaijani Airlines announces special promotion on flights to US
Azerbaijani Airlines (AZAL) has announced a special promotion on Baku-New York and New York-Baku roundtrip flights. Flying from Baku to New York will cost just €599, while embarking on a roundtrip from New York to Baku will cost $799. AZAL will launch direct flights from Baku to New York starting September 24.
Heydar Aliyev Center hosts presentation of National Geographic Azerbaijan
Baku’s Heydar Aliyev Center hosted a presentation for National Geographic Azerbaijan Magazine on September 4. The first edition of "National Geographic Azerbaijan" was released on September 1 and the edition includes a leading feature on "Colors of Azerbaijan." Published with the support of Leyla Aliyeva, the Vice President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Founder and Head of the IDEA Public Union, "National Geographic Azerbaijan" serves to protect and raise awareness about the environment. In her speech at the event, Ms. Aliyeva said, "Environmental problems unite us all, regardless of nationality, language, religion and race behind a common goal - protection of nature.”
US Embassy sponsors Mary McBride Band for their debut Azerbaijan tour
The US Embassy in Azerbaijan is pleased to sponsor the visit of the famous American Mary McBride Band through US State Department’s Arts Envoy Program to Azerbaijan on September 15-25, 2014. Mary received significant acclaim for her performance on the soundtrack of the Academy Award-winning film “Brokeback Mountain” and was chosen by Elton John to sing at the 35th Anniversary Concert of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”
Baku Open International Chess Festival will attract record 23 countries
The sixth annual Baku Open International Chess Festival, September 21 – October 1, 2014, will attract a record 23 countries. Chess players from Azerbaijan and 22 other countries will participate in the festival at Novkhani’s AF Hotel.
Baku to host sailing world championships in 2015
Olympic class “470” sailing world championship races will be held in 2016 in Azerbaijan. “470,” named for the length in centimeters of the boat, became an Olympic class in 1976.