News Digest January 16, 2015
Embassy of the Republic of
                                Azerbaijan

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 increasing tourism industry, the country's economic expansion and growing bilateral relations with Israel. To learn more about the Embassy’s activities, please remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Baku Named to New York Times' "52 Places to Go in 2015"
The New York Times

Baku

Baku’s mix of ancient culture and Dubai-style extravagance is putting it on the tourist map at last. A second oil boom — the first was in the early 20th century — in the Azeri capital has brought enormous wealth to this city on the shores of the Caspian Sea, and with it, a new skyline. New luxury hotels include a Four Seasons, Hilton and Kempinski; this summer, the 33-floor sail-like Trump International Hotel & Baku Tower will join them — and just in time for the very first European Games, a multi-sport Olympics-like event, taking place in June.

Azerbaijan Condemns Paris Shootings, All Forms of Terrorism
Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

In a letter to French President Francois Hollande, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev wrote: “We are deeply shocked by the news of the death and wounding of people as a result of a ruthless terrorist act in Paris. We are extremely angered by this horrific event, and strongly support the resolute struggle against all manifestations of terrorism. On my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan, I express my deepest condolences to you, the families and loved ones of those who died and all the people of France, and wish those wounded a speedy recovery.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Hikmat Hajiyev also gave a statement on the terrorist attack: “We condemn strongly the terror attack perpetrated in France. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of this terror act and the people of France and wish the soonest recovery of the wounded. Azerbaijan, as country suffering from terrorism condemns all forms and manifestations of terrorism. We also reiterate that no act of terrorism can be justified. Azerbaijan staunchly supports the efforts of the international community in the fight against terrorism and makes its contributions to this struggle. “

Boeing Delivers Azerbaijan Airlines' First 787 Dreamliner
Chicago Sun-Times

Dreamliner

Boeing Co. and Azerbaijan Airlines announced on December 23 the delivery of the airline’s first 787 Dreamliner. “We are very excited that Azerbaijan Airlines has selected the 787 Dreamliner to lead its route expansion plans and help their business grow,” said Marty Bentrott, a Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president. Azerbaijan Airlines is the first carrier in the Commonwealth of Independent States to operate a Dreamliner. The airline flies to more than 20 destinations in the US, China, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Middle East and Europe from its base at Heydar Aliyev Airport in Baku.

Azerbaijan's Cargo Airline Buys Three Boeings
Trend.az

Azerbaijani cargo air carrier Silk Way West intends to purchase three Boeing 747-8 aircraft. A contract exceeding $1.1 billion, the sale is currently being finalized. Silk Way West has seven Boeing aircraft, including two 767-300 aircraft, three 747-400 aircraft and two 747-8 aircraft.

Three Dozen Azerbaijani Peacekeepers Sent to Afghanistan
AzerNews

Thirty-nine peacekeepers of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have been sent to Afghanistan. Serving under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the Azerbaijani peacekeepers will guard Kabul international airport. Azerbaijan is one of the eight partner countries that has confirmed its post-2014 presence in Afghanistan.

Ashton Carter's Caucasus Challenge: Azerbaijan Needs Reassurance, Steadiness in Washington
The Daily Caller

Ashton Carter will take over the helm at the Pentagon at a moment of heightened volatility on the global stage. Carter has his work cut out for him, but given his defense portfolio, he can play a critical role in preserving ongoing collaborative efforts with Baku. Carter is well-placed to bring some reassurance to this important relationship with a country that has so far proven itself to be a loyal ally.

Top Official: Azerbaijan Wants its National Will, Policies to be Respected
Trend.az

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Ali Hasanov, Head of the Public and Political Issues Department within the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, commented on US-Azerbaijani relations. An excerpt from the interview: “Azerbaijan’s foreign policy is based on principles of equal cooperation, mutual trust, respect for norms of international law and non-interference in internal affairs. Azerbaijan cooperates with all countries, including the US, on the basis of these principles.”

Israeli Ambassador: 2014 A Good Year for Israeli-Azerbaijani Relations
Trend.az

Rafael
                                  Harpaz

Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijani Rafael Harpaz noted that bilateral relations between Israel and Azerbaijan thrived in 2014. Positive developments included official visits and agreements, and he added that, “We hope to sign more agreements related to economic development… [and] tourism is another very important area.”

The Improbable Romance Between Israel and Azerbaijan
Jewish and Israel News

An improbable romance continues to develop between Israel and Azerbaijan: Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon took a surprise trip to Azerbaijan in September, marking the first-ever visit by the holder of his position to a Muslim-majority nation in the Southern Caucasus region. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and former president Shimon Peres have also visited Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijani dignitaries have made the trip to Israel. “For Azerbaijan, located in a tough neighborhood, Israel is a very valued source of economic and strategic assistance,” said American Jewish Committee (AJC) Executive Director David Harris.

Religious Tolerance: Finding a Model that Works in Dangerous Times
Roll Call

Nasimi
                                  Aghayev

Nasimi Aghayev, Azerbaijan’s Consul General to the Western US, published an opinion piece on religious tolerance, saying: "One strong US ally that has centuries of inspiring success in tolerance and inclusion is the Republic of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan, a majority-Muslim nation on the shores of the Caspian Sea, has built a community of acceptance where Muslims, Jews and Christians enjoy peaceful coexistence and live in harmony and respect for each other."

President Ilham Aliyev Congratulates Country's Orthodox Christian Community
APA

In a message to the Azerbaijani Orthodox Christian community celebrating Christmas, President Ilham Aliyev said that in Azerbaijan – a country that is famous in the world as an example of tolerance, area of dialogue among civilizations and cultures - representatives of different religions and peoples have historically lived together in peace, mutual understanding and respect, tranquility, friendship and brotherhood.

President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijani People Will Live in Safety, Well-Being Will Improve Every Year
Trend.az

Ilham
                                  Aliyev

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on January 1 congratulated the Azerbaijani people on the New Year and on the International Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis, the December 31 holiday marking the anniversary of the 1989 call for removal of borders between Soviet Azerbaijan and Iran. In his message, President Aliyev wrote that, “2014 was a successful year for our country…Azerbaijan is recognized worldwide as a reliable partner and our influence and opportunities are expanding,” and also wished “every Azerbaijani family happiness, prosperity and continued successes.”

BP and SOCAR Sign PSA for Offshore Areas in Azerbaijan
Exploration World

On December 22, BP and the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) signed a new production sharing agreement (PSA) for the exploration and development of prospects in the Caspian Sea. Rovnag Abdullayev, SOCAR President, and Gordon Birrell, BP’s regional president for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, signed the agreement together. “The signing of this new PSA, which clearly deepens our partnership with BP, is an important milestone for all parties involved – the government, SOCAR and BP,” Abdullayev said. “It marks the beginning of a new phase in our cooperation.”

First Test Train Launched on Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway
AzerTAc

Railway

A pilot train has successfully been tested on a Georgian section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, traveling between the two South Georgian towns of Akhalkalaki and Kartsakhi. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad links Azerbaijan with Turkey via Georgia and the project aims to improve trade and economic relations between the countries, as well as to attract foreign direct investment by connecting Europe and Asia. The railway is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2015.

Azerbaijan to Produce Acer Computers
AzerNews

Azerbaijani plant KUR, a computer equipment plant in the central-northern city of Mingachevir, plans to produce computer equipment for Acer Inc., Taiwan’s multinational hardware and electronics corporation. The plant will primarily produce Intel processors and chips and the final production deal is expected to be announced before the end of January. KUR plant was established in 2005. It is the only manufacturing company engaged in assembly-line production of computer equipment and electronics in the South Caucasus region.

 

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