Baku, Azerbaijan, June 6
US Congressman from the Democratic Party and Co-Chair of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus Steve Cohen made a speech on the occasion of the 101st anniversary of the Republic Day - the national holiday of Azerbaijan, Trend reports referring to the Embassy of Azerbaijan to the US.
In his speech, the Congressman noted that Azerbaijan established the world's first secular parliamentary democratic republic in the Islamic world in 1918, and earned diplomatic recognition from the US during the administration of President Woodrow Wilson.
He added that despite having remained independent only until 1920, it became the first Muslim country to grant universal suffrage to its citizens, thereby giving women the right to vote.
Congressman Cohen recalled that Azerbaijan restored independence after the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
The Congressman further stated that Azerbaijan has emerged as a key player for enhancing global energy security, adding that Azerbaijan provides roughly 40 percent of Israel's oil consumption and that the country enjoys friendly ties with Israel.
He stressed that Azerbaijan has been praised for its religious tolerance by the European Parliament, noting the fact of peaceful coexistence of more than 12,000 Jews and Christian communities with Azerbaijanis for more than 2500 years.
Congressman Cohen also stated that Azerbaijan is a key global security partner for the US.
“As an active member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, Azerbaijan cooperates with the United States in countering terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and narcotics trafficking,” he said.
The Congressman added that Azerbaijani troops serve shoulder to shoulder with US soldiers in Afghanistan and Azerbaijan’s participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan was particularly noted.
In conclusion, Congressman Steve Cohen, as co-chairman of Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus, stressed that he stands with the Azerbaijani people in the country's efforts to strengthen independence, security, human rights and democratic values, and wishes that the partnership between Azerbaijan and the US progress and continue to benefit both nations.