Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 25
By Sabina Ahmedova - Trend: The U.S. and Azerbaijan have clear shared interests in building regional security, diversifying energy supplies, pursuing democratic and economic reforms, combating terrorism, and stemming the flow of illegal narcotics and weapons of mass destruction, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the U.S. State Department Eric Rubin said in an interview with Trend.
"We expect such cooperation to continue, and we look forward to opportunities to enhance the relationship between our two countries," he said.
Rubin said Azerbaijan continues to play a leading role in the diversification of energy routes to European markets.
"The Southern Gas Corridor will bring a new source of gas supply to Europe, a goal the United States strongly supports. And the selection of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is another important step in the process of advancing Europe's energy security and promoting competition in the supply of energy resources," he noted.
According to the official, by bringing Caspian gas to international markets, this initiative will contribute to meeting global energy demand, which is critical to sustaining economic growth.
As a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States remains firmly committed to achieving a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based upon the core principles of the Helsinki Final Act, particularly the non-use or threat of force, territorial integrity of states, and equal rights and self-determination of peoples, Rubin said.
He said that represented by Ambassador James Warlick, the United States believes there is a real prospect for peace and looks forward to working with the parties at the summit this month.
"Any durable solution will require compromise from all sides. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan must find the political will to make the difficult decisions that a peaceful settlement requires," Rubin said.
According to Rubin, the U.S. assesses Azerbaijan's contribution to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan very positively.
"Azerbaijan has 94 troops in Afghanistan and is a key partner in facilitating both air and surface resupply of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. It gives blanket permission for U.S. military overflights of its territory and serves as a key node on the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), allowing thousands of shipments non-lethal goods and flights to transit Azerbaijan each year to resupply coalition troops in Afghanistan," Rubin said.