Stanford University mulls Azerbaijan’s strategic role

Stanford University mulls Azerbaijan’s strategic role

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 14 / Trend S.Agayeva /

The Stanford University discussed the strategic role of Azerbaijan.

One of the leading higher educational institutions of the U.S., the Stanford University, held a seminar dedicated to Azerbaijan, the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles said.

Senior Fellow Gail Lapidus and Azerbaijan's Consul General in Los Angeles Elin Suleymanov took part in the discussions. Professor Lapidus emphasized Azerbaijan's important role in terms of U.S. national interests and expressed regret at the lack of attention to South Caucasus from Washington.

In his speech, Suleymanov spoke about the history of Azerbaijani statehood and formation of the first democratic republic with a Muslim majority. Listeners' attention was drawn to the well-established tradition of tolerance and openness in the Azerbaijani society. In addition, Suleymanov voiced concern over some external forces' attempts to radicalize the public dialogue in the country. The diplomat pointed to the importance of the organic development of social and political processes in society without unhealthy interference and the damage caused by a superficial, ill-conceived and often biased coverage of the situation in the region by the number of media outlets.

Further, Suleymanov recalled that independent development is particularly valuable for the Azerbaijani society and is a priority for the country's leadership. He said the tragedy of Jan. 20, 1990 is the symbol of sacrifice for all Azerbaijani citizens on the way to independence. The disintegration of the USSR gained the obvious and irreversible forms in January 1990.

It was noted that, whereas the majority of Eurasian countries seek to strengthen their independence, Armenia, as a result of Yerevan's choices in favor of aggressive ethno-nationalism, on the contrary, deepens its dependence on outside forces. Examples of this are as long-term presence of foreign military bases on Armenian territory, and the sale of the economic infrastructure of the country for a pittance.

Suleymanov said in the 90 years the U.S. pursued a deliberate policy of building partnerships with the regional countries. At that time there has been achieved a significant progress in integrating the region and creation of the energy export infrastructure. Despite Washington's certain strengthening in relation to the region in recent times, the approach of the American side still does not reflect a clear, deliberate strategy. For example, the U.S. can and should be a more active participant in the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. This conflict, which has lasted for more than two decades, caused by the Armenian side, threatens the future of the region. Unresolved conflicts can cause significant harm to the interests of the United States. It is difficult to talk about a regional strategy for the United States on the backdrop of pause lingering over a year in the appointment of an ambassador to Azerbaijan due to internal political differences. The situation somewhat changed with the appointment of Stanford University graduate Matthew Bryza as ambassador by President Barack Obama, bypassing the procedures in the U.S. Senate.

Stressing Baku's commitment to policy of diversification of energy sources to world markets, and Azerbaijan's contribution to the energy security of Europe, Suleymanov expressed his hope for intensification of European partners in this direction. Referring to the recent OSCE summit in Astana, he expressed regret over the fact that an opportunity close to solving the urgent problems facing the region was missed.

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