The American Jewish Committee (AJC) leadership delegation concluded a two-day visit to Azerbaijan, AJC's website (www.ajc.org) reported on Monday.
The 11-member group met with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, Deputy Foreign Minister Vaqif Sadiqov, Speaker of the Parliament Oktay Asadov, Israeli Ambassador Michael Lavon-Lotem, American Charge d'Affaires Donald Lu and other officials.
This was AJC's second trip to Baku in the past two years. The earlier visit took place in August 2008.
"Azerbaijan is a critically important country," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "We were delighted to be there at the same time as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a month after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, underscoring Washington's deep interest."
"It is important for Americans to understand the key role that Azerbaijan today plays in our nation's counter-terrorism efforts, energy security, and military operations in Afghanistan," added Harris. "And Jews and friends of Israel need to be aware of the long and rich history of the Jewish community in Azerbaijan, and of the country's close and mutually beneficial ties with Israel."
"We were very warmly and graciously received by our Azerbaijani hosts," Harris said. "Given the importance we attach to Azerbaijan, we shall look forward to our next visit and to frequent contact in between."