Baku, Azerbaijan, June 12
The Atlantic Council, an influential think tank operating in Washington, DC, USA, hosted an event dedicated to Azerbaijan's foreign policy on June 11, Trend reports.
During the event, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent gave a speech on US-Azerbaijani relations. Afterwards, a conversation took place between Hikmet Hajiyev, Head of the Department of Foreign Policy Affairs of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, and Richard Morningstar, founding chairman of the Global Energy Center, board director at the Atlantic Council and former US ambassador to Azerbaijan.
The event was attended by representatives of diplomatic corps accredited in Washington, DC and analysts conducting research on the region. As the event was also open to the public, a large number of Armenian lobbyists were also present at the event.
In his speech, the Deputy Assistant Secretary talked about the strategic importance of Azerbaijan-US relations. Noting the importance of the South Caucasus region, he described Azerbaijan as an important partner and touched on the successful cooperation in security, energy and economic development in the two countries.
Kent emphasized the recent visits and dialogue between the two states as an indication of the development of relations. He expressed gratitude on behalf of the US government for Azerbaijan's support for the NATO-led peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan. He also noted that the US supports the peaceful settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and that the country remains committed to the mediation efforts within the OSCE Minsk Group, stressing that the soonest settlement of the conflict would provide for peace and prosperity in the region.
Later, a conversation was held with Hikmet Hajiyev, moderated by former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar. Hajiyev spoke about the basics of Azerbaijan's foreign policy, its strategic position, relations with the regional states, energy and transport projects that are changing the region's map, and the current stage of the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
He noted that, despite the wise and cautious approach taken by the Azerbaijani leadership, the Armenian leadership led by Nikol Pashinyan has not demonstrated having a serious position in the settlement of the conflict and, on the contrary, has been remembered for having made statements and taken steps which further contributed to the stirring of the situation up until today
In this regard, Hajiyev brought up Armenia’s recent provocations that resulted in the deaths of the servicemen of the Azerbaijani military on the line of contact, and noted that these steps were aimed at disrupting the negotiation process.
Moreover, Hajiyev pointed out the current economic consequences of the conflict for Armenia, saying that solving the conflict will firstly have many benefits for Armenia, that the only way for Armenia out of this crisis is through conflict resolution, and that this unfortunately is still not understood in Armenia or the Armenian Diaspora. Hajiyev also noted that Armenia continued illegal activities in the occupied territories during the period of its participation in peace talks, and emphasized that more attention should be paid to this issue by the international community.
Hajiyev answered questions given from the audience during the latter half of the event. At this point, several Armenian lobbyists, who were attending the event open to the public, directed provocative questions to the Azerbaijani representative, who responded to these questions by exposing Armenia's policy of aggression and violation of international law.