The event was attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps, the U.S. Administration and Washington's analytical centers, as well as Alicia Allison, Office Director for Caucasus Affairs and Regional Conflicts in the US Department of State's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs; Andrew Schofer, US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group; Robert Cekuta, former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan; Sarah Tonucci, Executive Director of the Rumsfeld Foundation.
Addressing the event, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the U.S. Elin Suleymanov noted that the participation in this event of representatives of the countries that joined the Donald Rumsfeld Foundation’s program has already become a tradition, which is a positive development.
The ambassador stressed that Azerbaijan’s national leader Heydar Aliyev had always attached special importance to regional cooperation.
According to the envoy, Azerbaijan, implementing large-scale projects, makes a great contribution to its well-being, as well as to that of its neighbors.
In addition, Suleymanov emphasized the importance of the Azerbaijan-initiated large-scale oil and gas projects that connect Georgia, Central Asia, the regions of the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, in terms of regional cooperation and strengthening of these countries’ prosperity and independence.
He went on to say that D. Rumsfeld, while acting as the U.S. Secretary of Defense, realized the strategic importance of the region, closely cooperated with regional countries and contributed to the development of relations between Azerbaijan and the United States.
He noted that Azerbaijan's establishment of the first democratic republic in the Muslim world 100 years ago is a useful experience for the entire region.
The ambassador added that holding this year's regional conference of the Rumsfeld Foundation in Baku is an important event.
Former U.S. Ambassador Robert Cekuta said in his speech touched upon the April 11 presidential election in Azerbaijan.
Cekuta emphasized that Ilham Aliyev’s re-election as President of Azerbaijan is a positive factor of stability and development, and creates new opportunities for further cooperation and partnership between the U.S. and Azerbaijan.
He said that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic.
The former envoy hailed the work carried out over the last 26 years of Azerbaijan-US relations, expressing hope for further expanding and bringing cooperation to the next level, using the opportunities created after the presidential election.
Speaking on behalf of the participants of the Rumsfeld Fund program, Azerbaijani representative Sarkhan Hashimov expressed gratitude to the Rumsfeld Foundation and the Embassy of Azerbaijan. He stressed that regional cooperation is of great importance and that Azerbaijan, along with its friend and partner nations, is looking to the future with hope.
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