Greetings from the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Washington, DC. In this edition of the Azerbaijan News Digest, you will find articles about Azerbaijan’s economic growth, relationships with the international community and the unique culture of the Nakhchivan region. We hope you enjoy reading this issue.
May 21, 2013
Dan Burton honored by the Embassy of Azerbaijan
Embassy of Azerbaijan
On May 10, the Embassy of Azerbaijan organized a cultural event to honor the 90th birthday of the nation’s late president, Heydar Aliyev, at Washington’s iconic Mayflower Hotel. At the event, Ambassador Elin Suleymanov presented the 2013 Heydar Aliyev Award for a Major Contribution to the U.S. – Azerbaijan Partnership to the Honorable Dan Burton, former Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia. This year’s inaugural award was presented to Mr. Burton for his leadership in encouraging greater U.S. engagement with Azerbaijan and other nations of Eurasia.
“Heydar Aliyev’s legacy is best described as visionary leadership. It is, therefore, fitting that the inaugural Heydar Aliyev Award for a Major Contribution to the U.S. – Azerbaijan Partnership honors Chairman Burton, whose leadership continues to make a difference in our part of the world,” said Ambassador Suleymanov.
The cultural program of the evening included the Heydar Aliyev Memorial Jazz Concert featuring original pieces by the widely acclaimed Azerbaijani pianist Emil Afrasiab and by the Zulfugarenatus duo led by saxophone player Zulfugar Bagirov.
Energy and Economy
Drilling of two more Shah Deniz wells to be completed this year
BP, the operator of the giant Shah Deniz gas condensate field located in Azerbaijan's sector of the Caspian Sea, will complete the drilling of two wells this year as part of the second stage of the field's development, a source in the oil and gas market told Trend news agency. According to the source, work on the drilling of the SDX-07 development well is underway and currently its depth is 6,000 meters.
ADB ready to fund alternative energy in Azerbaijan
The Asian Development Bank is ready to allocate some $40 million to Azerbaijan for developing alternative and renewable energy sources, ADB reported on its official website. The project aims to promote renewable energy development in Azerbaijan through developing two pilot renewable energy projects (biomass cogeneration) with a total installed capacity of 16 megawatt (MW) for efficient electricity and heating supply in the Oghuz and Agjabedi regions.
EBRD expects acceleration of Azerbaijan’s economic growth
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) expects the acceleration of the economic growth in Azerbaijan in 2013. According to EBRD's regional economic prospects report, after successfully weathering the financial crisis, Azerbaijan's economy has slowed as the pace of oil extraction decelerated. However, according to the report, the decline of oil output has been more than offset by the encouraging growth of the non-oil sector, led by construction and services.
Azerbaijan's economy rises 3.8 percent
Azerbaijan's GDP grew by 3.8 percent In January-April 2013 compared to the same period of last year amounting to 17.23 billion manat, according to a report of the State Statistics Committee.
Azerbaijan is runner-up at Eurovision 2013
Azerbaijani singer Farid Mammadov earned 234 points during the Eurovision final, finishing second only to this year’s winner, Danish singer Emmelie De Forest. In the country’s 2008 debut at Eurovision, Europe’s oldest music contest and the world’s most watched non-sporting television event, Azerbaijan finished in eighth place. In subsequent years, Azerbaijan has been consistently among the top five European performers and won the contest in 2011. In 2012, Azerbaijan hosted a spectacular Eurovision event in Baku.
U.S. Ambassador: “Christians, Jews and Muslims peacefully coexist here”
“The fact of peaceful and safe living conditions of the Udis in Azerbaijan for thousand years shows that irrespective of language and religion, any ethnic minority can live in the atmosphere of tolerance and respect in your country,” said US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar, who visited Nij settlement of Gabala, familiarized himself with the ancient Albanian church and met with representatives of religious communities.
Ethnically diverse Azerbaijan among most tolerant countries
The results of the recent World Values Survey show Azerbaijan among the most tolerant countries in the Caucasus region, outranking neighbors Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Russia and Iran.
Op-Ed: To Azerbaijan, With Love
Ambassador Suleymanov explained that Azerbaijan is the only country in the world to share a border with both Russia, to the north, and Iran, to the south. And as such, Azerbaijan serves as a critical independent and free east-west corridor from east to west, and vice versa. Through this corridor go critical Caspian Sea reserves of gas and oil to the West. Azerbaijan sees its future with the western pluralistic societies which value freedom and democracy.
Welcome to Nakhchivan, the San Francisco of the Caucasus Mountains
As my plane touched down into Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, I half expected to step out into a crumbling landscape ripped from a still of Enemy at the Gates. So discovering that’d I’d actually stumbled upon an isolated, bizzaro San Francisco was a bit of a trip. Nakhchivan is a shockingly well-to-do, progressive, and proud corner of the nation obsessed with local, organic produce, alternative medicines, health and spirituality tourism, all things ecological, and universal Wi-Fi access.
Heydar Aliyev Center to host Andy Warhol exhibition
An exhibition of famous American artist, Andy Warhol, will open this June at the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center in Baku. Organized as part of the center's cooperation with the Andy Warhol Museum, the exhibition entitled "Life, Death and Beautiful" will feature nearly 100 works by the artist.
Greek Prime Minister Visits Azerbaijan
The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met recently with Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras who is in Baku for a working visit.They said relations between Azerbaijan and Greece were developing successfully in the political, economic, cultural spheres. They stressed that good prospects exist for further expansion of bilateral energy cooperation, and the sides also underscored the importance of relations between the two countries in terms of Azerbaijan-European Union cooperation.
EU, Azerbaijan discuss energy, economic, agricultural ties
Azerbaijan’s Minister of Economic Development, Shahin Mustafayev, told a delegation of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament that his country is recognized in the world today as a reliable partner in ensuring Europe’s energy security. The delegation of the ECR group also met with Azerbaijani Parliament Speaker Ogtay Asadov, who said Azerbaijan supported the EU’s policy on eastward enlargement, adding the country had taken important measures in line with this policy.
Georgian President: Destiny of South Caucasus being decided in Azerbaijan today
"Without exaggeration, the future of our region is being decided here in Baku, Azerbaijan,” said President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. “This includes the independence of not only the South Caucasus, but also Ukraine, Moldova and all of the post-Soviet countries. The fate of Europe's security and liberty is being written by our region, in particular, by Azerbaijan," he told journalists in Baku.
Azerbaijani FM to attend forum in U.S.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov is expected to attend "American Jewish Committee Global Forum 2013" in the United States on June 2, the organization's website reported. According to the report, the Greek prime minister, Israeli justice minister and foreign ministers of the Czech Republic and Poland will also attend.
Azerbaijan to join International Space Treaty
Azerbaijan's accession to the Treaty on the Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, will expand its international cooperation links, the Azercosmos space agency announced. This intergovernmental agreement will help accelerate the growth of the country's activities in outer space, from both an economic as well as a scientific point of view, as well as create favorable conditions for the implementation of the objectives set out in the state program for the creation and development of the space industry in Azerbaijan.