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 as the hub of the new Silk Road, the inaugural Baku 2015 European Games – starting Friday, June 12, and running through June 28 – and the bond between Azerbaijani and US Jews. To learn more about the Embassy’s activities, please remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Why the United States needs Azerbaijan as the hub of the new Silk Road
Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov writes: “The ancient Silk Road brought valuable goods, ideas and information from Asia to Europe, including inventions such as paper and gunpowder. Countries that missed out on these advances lost out on the progress and prosperity of their times. Now, world and regional leaders are making plans to build a new Silk Road, consisting not only of roadways but also pipelines, cable lines, airports and ports. And Azerbaijan stands at the center of them all.”
IMF improves Azerbaijan's economic growth outlook
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) increased Azerbaijan’s 2015 economic growth outlook from 0.6 percent to 1.8 percent GDP growth. Raja Al-Marzouqi, head of the IMF mission to Azerbaijan, explained at a press conference on June 8 that “After the devaluation, we forecasted GDP growth of 0.6 percent, but during our visit to the country we saw that the non-oil sector grew by 6.5 percent in January-April 2015. At the same time we realized that the economic growth will be higher than expected.”
European Games 2015: What are they?
This month marks the start of a new era: on June 12, Azerbaijan brings up the curtain on the first-ever European Games when its capital, Baku, will welcome some 6,000 athletes to this inaugural sporting festival. Representatives of 50 European nations will compete, with the opening ceremony taking place on Friday, June 12, and the closing ceremony being held on Sunday, June 28. Twenty sports will be on the agenda – 16 Olympic events and the other four making their debuts: 3x3 basketball, karate, beach soccer and sambo, a martial art sport.
Australian MP: European Games to showcase Azerbaijan's potential
Luke Simpkins, an Australian Member of Parliament (MP), said during a visit to Baku that athletes and tourists who visit Azerbaijan for the Baku 2015 European Games will be fascinated by the country. “I was struck by the beauty of Azerbaijan and Baku, the hospitality and tolerance of the population,” Mr. Simpkins said. “I think that those who will come to the European Games in Baku will also be amazed by the beauty and the development of Azerbaijan.”
Caspian Conference: TANAP key to European energy security
Key energy officials from Azerbaijan and Turkey highlighted their countries' growing roles, via the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), in helping to deliver energy security to Europe. Speaking on June 3 at the Caspian Oil & Gas Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan's Minister of Industry and Energy Natiq Aliyev noted that his country's significance is increasing when it comes to the provision of energy security for Europe with Azerbaijan "playing the role of a bridge between East and West."
SOCAR: Azerbaijan to produce 40.7 million tons of oil, 30.2 bcm of gas in 2015
Azerbaijan plans to produce 40.7 million tons of oil and 30.2 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas in 2015, a senior official at the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) said on June 4. This compares with 41.9 million tons of oil and 29.6 bcm of gas last year. The previous forecasts for this year were 40.3 million tons of oil and 29 bcm of gas.
Georgia's biggest investor: Azerbaijan
According to the Georgian State Committee, Georgia received the largest amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) from Azerbaijan in Q1 of 2015, at $59 million. This represents a 25.5 percent increase from Azerbaijan’s FDI in Georgia in Q1 of 2014.
Azerbaijani and US Jews building powerful bonds
Milikh Yevdayev, head of the Community of Azerbaijan’s Mountain Jews, writes about the bond between Azerbaijani and US Jews: “Having visited Southern California several times, I am fortunate to have developed a special kinship with the Jewish community there…From my visits I have come to see that there is a special relationship between Azerbaijan and Los Angeles Jewish Community, as we both share a strong commitment to preserving the past but also valuing the future.”
Israel and Azerbaijan: You just don't understand
The Jewish Press
Imagine yourself to be a majority-Shiite-Muslim, Turkic nation bordered by Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Russia and Georgia. Then picture yourself as a close neighbor and friend to the not-so-small Jewish community that has called your country home for more than 2,500 years. Many outsiders cannot quite fathom your close relationship with the nation of Israel. But then again, most outsiders cannot fathom the status quo of the entire Caucasus region, which you call home.
Azerbaijan's Gobustan: Rock art cultural landscape
Gobustan National Park, known for its rock engravings, relics and mud volcanoes, is located in eastern Azerbaijan among the Greater Caucasus mountain ridge and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. As artistic chronicles of the past, these petroglyphs bear great importance for the study of ancient humanity and primitive art. Discovered in 1939, the engravings date back between 5,000 and 40,000 years.