Azerbaijan is a very important partner of the United States and a powerful force for maintaining peace and stability in the Caucasus, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said at a meeting with foreign journalists today, ITAR-TASS reported.
Several months ago in Munich, the diplomat said that he had met with President Ilham Aliyev. During that meeting. he stressed the importance that the United States attaches to its relations with Azerbaijan. Subsequently, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has repeatedly spoken with the Azerbaijani leader by phone, he added.
"Azerbaijan is a very important partner of the United States. This is a powerful force for peace and security in the Caucasus," he said. "We are working very closely on a wide range of issues and strongly committed to the Minsk process [on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict]."
The diplomat expressed his appreciation to Aliyev for his support of the OSCE Minsk Group.
"We know that these issues are difficult for all parties and that we must find ways to overcome existing differences," Steinberg said. Washington is convinced that "in the long run, greater integration in the Caucasus will serve the interests of the entire region."