Greetings from the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Washington, DC. In this edition of the News Digest, you will find stories about the need for constructive engagement between the US and Azerbaijan, EU support for Azerbaijan joining the WTO and a simplified visa process for Baku 2015 competitors and fans. To learn more about the Embassy’s activities, please remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

No time for strategic patience: Azerbaijan as an example
Roll Call

Gregory Kiley, former senior associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and senior professional staff member, Senate Armed Services Committee, argues that the US should pursue constructive engagement with Azerbaijan. Since the country gained independence in 1991, Mr. Kiley says, it has proven to be a strategic partner to the US as an energy producer, opponent of Iranian international aims, and reliable international ally. He continues: “Azerbaijan is asking for US leadership; Obama should heed the call.”

USACC welcomes Ambassador Robert F. Cekuta

The US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC), based in Washington, DC, hosted a formal reception on March 24 to welcome newly appointed US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert F. Cekuta. USACC Executive Director Susan Sadigova welcomed Ambassador Cekuta, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov, USACC members and guests from the US Department of State and Department of Commerce. Ambassador Cekuta mentioned that “there is a strong potential for very deep and beneficial economic relations between Azerbaijan and the US.”

EU supports Azerbaijan's joining WTO

Malena Mard, head of the EU delegation to Azerbaijan, affirmed at an April 1 press conference the EU’s support for Azerbaijan joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). “Cooperation with Azerbaijan is very important for the EU, we intend to develop these relations in the future as well,” Ms. Mard said. Azerbaijan began consultations with WTO in 2004, and the working group on Azerbaijan at the WTO Secretariat was established in 1997.

UN chief to visit Azerbaijan in 2016

Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the State Committee on Refugees and IDPs, Ali Hasanov, met with UN Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon as part of the third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria. Mr. Hasanov invited the UNSG to visit Azerbaijan and, expressing his gratitude for the invitation, the UNSG said he would visit Azerbaijan in 2016. The UNSG also met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev several times to discuss avenues for mutual cooperation between Azerbaijan and the UN.

Statement on Iranian nuclear deal negotiations
Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In an April 3 statement, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the progress on negotiations between the P5+1, the EU and the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding a potential nuclear deal. The Republic of Azerbaijan supports the international community's efforts and political will aimed at resolving the international issues based on the UN Charter and the norms and principles of international law.

Baku 2015: Rise to the occassion

From the shores of the Caspian Sea come the Baku 2015 European Games. Take an exclusive look at the Joel Peissig-directed promotional video for the most significant addition to the international sporting calendar in 50 years. See the stars of Baku 2015 and the sights of Azerbaijan’s beautiful capital city. Join the excitement at #Baku2015, #BiginBaku and #HelloBaku. See the film, and rise to the occasion.

Azerbaijan simplifies visa management for Baku 2015

Coming to the Land of Fire has never been easier. As Baku prepares to host the inaugural Baku 2015 European Games, Azerbaijan will issue visas under a simplified scheme 10 days prior to the start of the Games and throughout the competitions. Visitors will be able to obtain a single entry visa for 30 days at all consular departments of the Foreign Ministry, including Heydar Aliyev International Airport, the International Airport in Ganja, Nakhchivan International Airport, Gabala International Airport, the International Airport Zagatala and Lankaran International Airport.

Serbian minister: Bulgaria-Serbia connection would link Serbia to TANAP, Azerbaijani gas

At a recent meeting on regional energy prospects held in Belgrade, Serbia, Aleksandar Antic, Serbian Minister of Mining and Energy said that his country aims to be part of all projects that could provide new gas supply sources and routes, including gas from Azerbaijan. A pipeline between Bulgaria and Serbia would provide the latter with access to Azerbaijani gas via the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP).

Azerbaijan's biggest bank raises capital

The International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA), the largest and only state-owned bank in the oil-rich country, said on April 2 it has increased its charter capital to 890 million manats ($848 million) from 200 million manats. The bank, 50.2 percent owned by Azerbaijan's Ministry of Finance, holds 35 percent of banking assets in the country.

Asian Development Bank to hold annual meeting in Baku

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will hold the 48th annual meeting of its Board of Governors at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku. Held May 2 through 5, the event will gather about 3,000 ADB government officials, business leaders, investors, journalists and representatives from civil society for the first time in the South Caucasus. The theme of the 2015 annual meeting is "Fostering Partnership for Development," which underscores the importance of enhancing cooperation and integration between Central Asia, the ADB, its members and other multilateral and bilateral partners.

Azerbaijan to host international chess festival
Zee News

Azerbaijan will host the international chess festival Nakhchivan Open 2015 from May 1 through 10 in the Nakhchivan autonomous republic. The tournament, which will commemorate former President Heydar Aliyev, will consist of three groups and will be played over nine rounds using the Swiss-system. Chess players from France, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, the Netherlands, India, Iran, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan will compete for the grand prize, totaling $40,000.



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