"The United States is a strong friend of Azerbaijan and is committed to working together with the Azerbaijani government and its people to support the development of a secure, prosperous, and democratic state," said U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns.
Speaking to the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy in Baku, on February 19, Under Secretary Burns noted that "the spreading dangers of weapons of mass destruction; new and more malignant forms of terrorism; unresolved regional and sectarian conflicts; failed and failing states; global economic dislocation; and transnational health, energy, and environmental concerns ... are not aberrations, but a new reality in the 21st century."
To meet these challenges, the U.S. wants closer ties and broader cooperation with Azerbaijan. Mr. Burns told Azerbaijan's future diplomats that the U.S. values its bilateral relationship with their country and deeply appreciates Azerbaijan's support with regard to the international efforts in Afghanistan, counterterrorism, and other important elements of regional and global security.
"Our history of shared relationships with Azerbaijan is a long and fruitful one on many fronts, with the notable success of the Baku-Tbilisi pipeline as only one example of that cooperative and collaborative work," said Under Secretary Burns.
Energy security is not a zero sum game. "It is our firm belief," Under Secretary Burns noted in reference to Russian energy policies, "that we can gain more by working together than against one another. Greater interconnectivity maximizes diverse sources and routes, ensures better market pricing, and protects against supply disruptions, for the good of all countries."
Mr. Burns said the U.S. is committed to efforts to enhance regional security in the Caucasus. "Working together with Russia and France as OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, we are engaged at the highest level in trying to find a stable and durable resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of the Helsinki principles of territorial integrity, self-determination and non-use of force or the threat of force," he said. "Peace, stability and tolerance can only benefit all the people in the Caucasus region."
The U.S. also believes that the strengthening of democratic institutions, rule of law and respect for human rights will have a positive effect on the future of Azerbaijan and the region and the U.S. supports efforts to further these goals. Under Secretary Burns said that a "strong and dynamic partnership between our two nations is important as we face a range of global challenges which neither of us can tackle alone."