Greetings from the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Washington, DC. In this edition of the News Digest, you will find stories about President Aliyev's meeting with Pope Francis, recognition ceremonies held for the 1992 Khojaly massacre and the country's official partnership with the Condé Nast Traveler Luxury Travel Fair. To learn more about the Embassy’s activities, please remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Ambassador Suleymanov: Longtime ally Azerbaijan counts on US reassurance
Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov was recently interviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In the interview, Ambassador Suleymanov said, “We have all lost a significant portion of our territory to separatist movements, and … we don't want to see any more instability…The United States should have a clear, consistent, forceful condemning of any degree of separatism, extremism, and reject any change of borders by force in the international community.” Diplomacy is like a personal relationship, he said, and Azerbaijan — long friendly to Washington —counts on American support to restore stability across the region.
Pope Francis meets Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
Official Vatican Network
On March 6, Pope Francis received Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva. During the meeting, bilateral relations and religion were discussed. Particular attention was paid to Azerbaijan’s Catholic community and a number of related cultural issues, illustrating the value of intercultural and interreligious dialogue in promoting peace.
Khojaly massacre commemorated across the United States
More than 600 Azerbaijani civilians were killed and more than 1,200 were kidnapped during the Khojaly massacre in February 1992. To commemorate the 22nd anniversary of this tragedy, a range of events and recognitions were held in Azerbaijan and throughout the United States, detailed below.
Sixteen members of Congress recognized the Khojaly massacre in an event held on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov gave remarks at the event, in which he thanked all guests for showing solidarity with the people of Azerbaijan. Congressional representatives present included Reps. Bill Shuster, Pete Olson, Henry Cuellar, Ryan Zinke, Xavier Becerra, Yvette Clarke, Paul Gosar, Al Green, Ted Deutch, Brian Babin, Randy Hultgren, Sheila Jackson Lee, Robert Aderholt, Charlie Dent, Mark Veasey and Doug Lamborn.
Arizona became the 16th state to recognize the Khojaly genocide, adopting on February 25 a resolution recognizing and condemning the Khojaly genocide, which was committed by Armenia against the Azerbaijani civilians in 1992. Utah shortly followed suit, as Governor Gary Herbert signed a March 2 letter recognizing and condemning the Khojaly massacre. In addition, the Texas
House of Representatives and the Assembly of the Friends of Azerbaijan (AFAZ) organized an event on February 19 to commemorate the Khojaly tragedy, in which state representative such as Rafael Anchia, Joe Deshotel and Roberto Alonzo gave remarks.
Another “Justice for Khojaly” event, held in Acre, Israel and organized by the Israel-Azerbaijan International Association, featured Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as the keynote speaker. Israeli officials, media outlets and Azerbaijani diaspora attended the event, in which Minister Lieberman said, “We’re here today to combine the experience of Israel with that of Azerbaijan so that we could prevent such tragedies from happening future.”
A recent interview with Durdana Aghayeva, a survivor of the Khojaly massacre, titled “Khojaly Massacre - An Interview with a Survivor” has been made available here.
New US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Cekuta visits Alley of Martyrs
New US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta on February 25 visited the Alley of Martyrs to pay respect to and to learn about Azerbaijani heroes. The Alley of Martyrs is a cemetery and memorial dedicated to those killed by the Soviet Army during Black January and later to those killed in the Nagorno-Karabakh War.
SOCAR announces details of Southern Gas Corridor joint declaration
The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) has announced details of a joint declaration made by Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council members, in which the most important factors of the project’s success are designated as reliable supply and the safe transportation of energy to the world markets. “We once more repeat the increasing significance of strategic cooperation and our intention for strengthening and extending activities based on mutual benefit for successful implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor,” the declaration said.
TAP to provide Southeastern Europe with access to Azerbaijani gas
The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will provide Southeastern Europe with access to Azerbaijani gas supplies in the future, Walter Peeraer, CEO of Belgium Fluxys said. Fluxys is one of six shareholders with a 19 percent stake in the TAP project. “With TAP, additional gas will arrive in Italy and the Italian network is being reinforced to handle increased quantities of gas, while our reverse flow project will allow the gas to move further to the north in Switzerland and Germany,” Mr. Peeraer said. “In other words, in the future we will see a corridor not only from south to north but also from west to east providing southeast Europe with gas,” Mr. Peeraer added.
Paul Alexander: Israel's Closest Muslim Ally
The Huffington Post
In light of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress, it is important to note that Azerbaijan continues to be one of Israel’s strongest allies. As author Paul Alexander writes, “Azerbaijan, a neighbor to Iran no less – enjoys a peaceful and productive relationship with Israel. Azerbaijan is geographically important, since, in addition to Iran, it borders Russia, Georgia, and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region, where western Asia meets Eastern Europe.”
New Mexico state senate: Azerbaijan is a model for religious tolerance
On February 23, the New Mexico state senate unanimously passed a resolution commending “the long-standing traditions of tolerance and inclusion in Azerbaijan,” and praising “the efforts by Azerbaijan to foster interfaith harmony, which can be a model and functioning example in these troubled times.” The resolution covers the age-old traditions of tolerance that have made it possible for Muslims, Jews and Christians to live peacefully together for centuries, in mutual respect and admiration.
Israel and Azerbaijan: An odd - but fond - couple
Herb Keinon blog
Here, in the middle of Azerbaijan, an Islamic country with a majority Shi’ite population, a ceremony took place commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. To put that in proper perspective, consider that in Iran – Azerbaijan’s menacing neighbor to the south – the government denies the Holocaust and sponsors cartoon contests mocking it. Yet despite its neighbors and their leaders, members of Azerbaijan’s small but ancient Jewish community – including a Jewish member of the Azerbaijani parliament – were discussing the Holocaust in a room filled with Muslim students from the university and members of the media. And all that under government sponsorship. Welcome to Azerbaijan.
Universal Sports to broadcast Baku 2015 European Games
Baku 2015 European Games has signed an agreement with US television network Universal Sports to broadcast this summer’s inaugural event across the US. From June 12-28, Universal Sports will broadcast daily coverage of the European Games from Azerbaijan, as well as online at UniversalSports.com. In addition, Universal Sports has acquired broadcasting rights to distribute the European Games in Canada. Mr. Simon Clegg, COO of Baku 2015, said: “Signing this agreement with Universal Sports is a major boost to Baku 2015 and ensures the Games will be shown to one of the largest television audiences in the world.” With this agreement, the Baku 2015 European Games has now announced deals to broadcast the Games in 50 countries around the
ADA University, Michigan State University sign MoU on education
Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA) University and Michigan State University have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on education programs. ADA’s education management faculty and Michigan State’s College of Education will prepare academic programs for university faculty, coordinate student and teacher exchanges and organize joint conferences and seminars. Attending the signing ceremony, the Azerbaijani minister of education Mikayil Jabbarov expressed confidence that the faculty will promote the training of qualified personnel in the management of education to reach the goals of the “State Strategy for the Development of Education.”
Azerbaijan becomes official partner of Condé Nast Traveler Luxury Travel Fair
Azerbaijan has been selected as the official partner of the Condé Nast Traveler Luxury Travel Fair, to be held in Moscow on March 17. Among Azerbaijan’s attributes, rich cultural heritage, developed infrastructure, the Caspian Sea beaches and nine diverse climate zones attract people from all over the world. Ancient architecture and unique cuisine also draw tourists to Azerbaijan, as will the inaugural Baku 2015 European Games, to be held in June. The Luxury Travel Fair is the only luxury travel trade event in Eastern Europe officially recognized by the UN World Tourism Organization. The event, organized by the world's leading publishing house Condé Nast, will last one day.