Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug. 6 / Trend I. Izzet /
Azerbaijani territories have now been under occupation for 20 years. The U.S. and international organisations appear to make no distinction based on international law between the aggressor and the country under occupation, Azerbaijan's Defence Minister, Colonel General Safar Abiyev said during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel in Washington.
Abiyev, speaking of the military-political situation in the Caucasus region, said at the meeting that Armenia's occupation policy has resulted in more than one million people becoming refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan.
"However, unfortunately, international organisations and leading countries have not yet declared Armenia as a state-occupier," the Minister of Defence said.
Abiyev emphasised the problems that had emerged due to the introduction of the 907th amendment, stressing that it is contrary to the U.S. foreign policy. He added that if the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not resolved and the Azerbaijani lands are not liberated, the region will remain under a difficult military situation.
The U.S. Secretary of Defence, expressing his agreement with his Azerbaijani counterpart said that regarding Azerbaijan, he will make further efforts for the development and strengthening of strategic cooperation between the two countries. The ministers discussed military-technical cooperation.
Touching upon various aspects of the strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and the United States, Abiyev emphasised practical steps in the establishment and development of relations between the countries. He added that positive results have been achieved in the development of cooperation in a number of programmes in the field of defence between the U.S. and Azerbaijan. The minister stressed that Azerbaijan will continue to contribute towards operations in Afghanistan after 2014, noting that this willingness was supported by NATO.
Joining forces in combating international terrorism as well as joint participation in the international coalition operations are of great importance in strengthening cooperation, Abiyev said during the meeting.
Noting the work carried out by Azerbaijan in the context of Euro-Atlantic security, Abiyev stressed that the energy, transport, communications and other regional projects undertaken in this area have turned into an important factor in the development of strategic cooperation.
After the meeting, Hagel asked the minister to convey his greetings to the President of Azerbaijan.
Abiyev, in turn, has invited his American counterpart to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan which Hagel gratefully accepted.
A meeting between the Azerbaijani Defence Minister Safar Abiyev with the United States Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was held on the same day. During the meeting, the parties discussed the issues of security in the Caspian region, the current state of cooperation between the naval forces of the two countries and prospects for development.
The meetings were also attended by the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United States Elin Suleymanov.
The Azerbaijani Defence Minister, on a visit to Washington at the invitation of American colleagues, laid a wreath on the grave of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington cemetery prior to a meeting at the Pentagon.