Embassy of the Republic of

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 role on the world stage, developments in US-Azerbaijani relations and the announcement of Coca-Cola as a sponsor of the Baku 2015 European Games. To learn more about the Embassy’s activities, please remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Turner Champions Azerbaijan as Key to Geopolitical Stability
The Washington Times

                                  Michael Turner

Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-OH) has been one of the most cogent voices on Capitol Hill in educating his colleagues about the importance of Azerbaijan as a strategic U.S. ally. Mr. Turner in 2013 paved the way for a bipartisan resolution putting the US House of Representatives on record that it is in the US national interest to support the Southern Gas Corridor, a pipeline project that would help send natural gas from Azerbaijan to key allies across Europe to lessen their energy dependence on Russia and other countries.

America's New Ambassador to Azerbaijan: Robert F. Cekuta
The Washington Times

The US Senate on January 28 approved the nomination of Robert F. Cekuta, a career foreign service diplomat with expertise in international energy issues, to be the new American ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan. Mr. Cekuta arrives in his new post after serving the last three years as the State Department’s principal deputy assistant secretary in charge of the Bureau of Energy Resources, and is regarded as an expert in energy issues as well as democratic and free market reforms.

Azerbaijani Member of Parliament Meets with Vice President Joe Biden

Samad Seyidov, head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) met with US vice president Joe Biden in Washington, DC as part of an Atlantic Council event “Transatlantic Strategy for Eastern Europe” on January 29. During the event, Azerbaijani and US representatives highlighted Azerbaijan’s contribution to European energy security and prospects for bilateral cooperation.

US Experts: Southern Gas Corridor Crucial for Europe

Top US government energy officials and leading experts on South Caucasus energy and politics assembled on January 28 for a conference on “Security and Energy Implications for the South Caucasus after Ukraine” in Washington, DC. US experts in attendance included Jonathan Elkind, Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs; Audrey Alstadt, professor and Wilson Center fellow; and Dr. Stephen Blank, American Foreign Policy Council’s senior fellow for Russia, all of whom emphasized the crucial role of the Southern Gas Corridor in European energy security.

Azerbaijan, EU Step Up Southern Gas Corridor Efforts
New Europe

On February 12, the first meeting of the advisory council for the Southern Gas Corridor will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan. Fuad Isgandarov, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Brussels, stressed the importance of the project as an important alternative supplier for the EU, and that during the February 12 meeting, the advisory council hopes, “to have a roadmap confirmed by all participants for the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor.”

Chancellor Merkel: Azerbaijan Plays Major Role in European Energy Security, Including Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met with Chancellor Angela Merkel on January 21 as part of his working visit to Germany. Following the meeting, Chancellor Merkel said at a press conference that they discussed aspects of their countries’ bilateral relations. She said that Azerbaijan plays a major role in the energy security of Europe, including Germany, adding that, “we welcome it and support the Southern Gas Corridor project.”

French Ambassador Thanks Azerbaijan for Solidarity

Pascal Monnier, French Ambassador to Azerbaijan, thanked Azerbaijani leadership for the solidarity shown with the people of France over the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo. Expressing gratitude for Azerbaijani officials’ words of sympathy, Ambassador Monnier said these killings caused deep sorrow, not only for French people, but for all citizens that respect freedom and humanity, regardless of political and religious views.

American Jewish Committee Delegation Visits Baku

An American Jewish Committee (AJC) delegation led by David Harris, AJC Executive Director, concluded a three-day visit to Baku on February 3, the fifth in a series of visits since 2008. While in Baku, the delegation met with Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Nazim Ibrahimov, Chairman of the State Committee on Diaspora Affairs, among others, including the Israeli, US and German ambassadors to Azerbaijan. During the visit, which included a 75-minute private meeting with President Ilham Aliyev, the two parties discussed US-Azerbaijani and Israeli-Azerbaijani relations, energy projects and interfaith cooperation.

Azerbaijan at World Economic Forum
US-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce

                                  Economic Forum

Led by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, the Azerbaijani delegation showcased its accomplishments and promising future outlook at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The delegation highlighted the country’s economic growth, as GDP expanded by 3 percent, inflation remained low, at 1.4 percent and disposable income grew by 4.8 percent in 2014.

Brooklyn Borough President: Azerbaijanis Living in Brooklyn Contribute to Local Culture

Azerbaijani Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfas Garayev met New York’s Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on January 28 to discuss opportunities for cooperation between the country and the borough. Many Azerbaijanis live in Brooklyn and play an important role in the borough’s cultural life, said Mr. Adams, . Brooklyn and Baku’s Sabail district signed a protocol on friendship and cooperation in November 2014 and are to become sister cities.

Mr. Adams added that the two parties considered naming one street "Brooklyn" in Baku and one street "Baku" in New York. Please click here for the full article.

Ambassador Suleymanov: From Tragedy to Independence
The Washington Times

Ambassador Suleymanov

Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov describes Azerbaijan’s healing and growth following the 1990 massacre of civilian protestors by Soviet troops in Baku. He writes: “The events of 1990 helped crystalize key elements of the Azerbaijani social and political identity. Today two of those elements, namely a strong, unquestionable commitment to its independence and the inclusive nature of its tolerant society, remain at the core of Azerbaijan’s strategic importance. Despite a history of imperial domination, the people of Azerbaijan persevered, sacrificed and ultimately won the freedom and independent future they sought. In fact, Azerbaijan was the first nation of the Soviet Empire or Eastern Europe to become free of any foreign military presence on its soil.”

Ambassador Suleymanov on the Anniversary of Alex Petersen's Death
Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov mourns the loss of Dr. Alexandros Petersen, an American academic and geopolitical energy specialist who died January 17, 2014 in Kabul, Afghanistan in a terrorist attack. Dr. Petersen, who had recently joined the American University in Afghanistan and often studied and traveled to Central Asia, and 20 others were killed when a restaurant was bombed.

Azerbaijan's Rich History with Jewish Settlers Opened Door to Israel Alliance
The Washington Times

If one wonders how the majority Muslim country of Azerbaijan came to such a rich alliance with Israel today, one need look no further than the Red Village, a tiny river conclave in the mountainous region of Quba. There, for centuries, a Jewish community has thrived amid a Muslim population. Today about 5,000 Jews have settled in the village, which boasts three schools and three synagogues.

Azerbaijani Cookbook Wins Eastern European Title in World Cookbook Awards

Pomegranates & Saffron

Azerbaijani cookbook “Pomegranates & Saffron: A Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan” has been named winner of the Eastern European cuisine category among books published in the US by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Author Feride Buyuran and her cookbook are now eligible to compete in the Best in the World Awards, held in June in China.

Coca-Cola Named Official Partner of Baku 2015 European Games
Inside the Games


Coca-Cola has been named as an official partner of the Baku 2015 European Games. Announced on January 15, the deal involves Coca-Cola’s release of a limited edition product packaging dedicated exclusively to Baku 2015 and the launch of an integrated marketing campaign to help raise awareness of the Games. "I am very pleased to confirm Coca-Cola as an Official Partner of the inaugural European Games," said Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan's Minister of Youth and Sports and chief executive officer of Baku 2015.

University President: Dreaming on the Coast of the Caspian Sea
Renu Khator's blog

University of Houston President Renu Khator pens a personal blog entry on a trip to Baku. Ms. Khator writes: “As a political scientist, I am fascinated by the Caspian Sea because of its geopolitical importance. Inhabitants of its shores – Russians, Azerbaijanis, Iranians, Kazakhstanis and Turkmenistanis—make it an intriguing yet complex region to grasp.”

Is Azerbaijan the Second Oldest Wine Region?

Most experts agree that the cradle of winemaking most likely resides somewhere in the Caucasus Mountain region where vitus vinifera grapevines grow naturally in the foothills and valleys. However the exact birth location of winemaking is in some dispute. Various archeological digs point to Georgia, Iran, Armenia, Turkey, and, more recently, Azerbaijan. Archaeologist Dr. Patrick A. McGovern mentions evidence of grapes and possible winemaking dating to the 7th Millennium BC at Shomu-Tepe, in the northern region of Azerbaijan, in his book “Ancient Wine.” Today, with the support of the current government, Azerbaijan is making solid progress in rejuvenating their wine industry.



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