Why Azerbaijani-Saudi relations are improving
Azerbaijan is a valuable partner for the United States. . development, in the lives of individual Azerbaijanis, and in our overall relationship. The United States established diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan in , following its independence from the Soviet Union. Together, the two countries work. “The U.S.-Azerbaijan relations are developing within the interests of the two countries in accordance with the principles of equal partnership.
Economic cooperation between two OIC members who also share an Islamic heritage is not all too surprising and can be viewed as financial pragmatism. However, in addition to the sudden increase in trade and investment, the Saudis and Azerbaijanis began to cooperate on security issues. Additionally, in late the two governments reached an extradition agreement as part of a security protocol, which also called for a joint fight against crime and terrorism.
Azerbaijan and the KSA's recent upgrade of bilateral relations can be seen as a Saudi effort to diminish Iran's influence in the region and the Muslim world at large. The Saudis and Iranians have long been regional rivals, with both vying for hegemony. Until now, the Saudi government enjoyed the full support of the United States against the Islamic Republic, but with the election of Rouhani and resumption of talks between Iran and the West the political situation changed.
More than ever now, the Saudis view Iran as a threat and are concerned that the US's support is waning. Disaffected by the U. Azerbaijan is a particularly attractive ally because it is already a sometimes rival of Iran.
Certainly, Azerbaijan's quarrels with Tehran are not at all like the bitter enmity between the Ayatollahs and the al-Saud family. Still, the existence of distrust between Azerbaijan and its neighbor to the south provide an opening for a Saudi alliance.
Baku also stands to gain, as Saudi money will flow into its growing economy and strengthen it. There are, however, drawbacks. Azerbaijan has demonstrated that its reluctance to defy Iran by supporting its adversaries. When the media reported that Azerbaijan might allow Israel to launch an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities from its bases, for instance, the Azerbaijani government swiftly denied the claims and proclaimed it would never allow its territory to be used by a foreign country to attack the Islamic Republic.
Furthermore, the Saudi government uses soft power by exporting its religious ideology to other countries, including Azerbaijan. In fact, some Azerbaijanis are known to be fighting in Syria, many alongside Sunni forces that are buttressed by the Saudis.
In the new century, USAID began to transition towards broader economic, social, and democratic development programs that would help the general Azerbaijani population. USAID provided resources to improve the overall quality of health care. USAID, along with a number of State Department programs, also worked to strengthen the quality of journalism and other key attributes of a modern society, so that Azerbaijani citizens could be more informed, more engaged, and support the development of a robust democracy.
Our assistance to Azerbaijan is, and always has been a partnership.
The United States works with the Government of Azerbaijan at all levels and across a number of government agencies. This program helps the people in communities to identify and address their top economic and societal needs. Perhaps most importantly, the projects are chosen by the communities themselves and include improving access to drinking water, rebuilding roads and bridges, installing heating systems in schools and kindergartens, and building medical facilities.
Over 5, Azerbaijanis have participated in U.
Foreign relations of Azerbaijan - Wikipedia
They include professional exchanges focusing on areas such as entrepreneurship, veterinary services, combatting trafficking in persons, journalism, and education. Participants in these programs have returned to Azerbaijan ready to use what they learned to help their country as volunteers, teachers, and leaders. Alumni from these U. InAzerbaijan welcomed its first Peace Corps volunteers from the United States, who worked with communities across the country on youth development, boosting economic activity and growth in the towns and cities where they lived as well as providing English-language education.
In all, over Peace Corps volunteers served in Azerbaijan, living among the Azerbaijani people, learning the language, and helping them to improve their livelihoods. Those volunteers and their host families built lasting bonds for personal friendship and, in the case of the volunteers, on-going affection for Azerbaijan.
And while talking about the strong people-to-people ties between Americans and Azerbaijanis, it is also worth mentioning that over the last 10 years alone our Consular section has issued non-immigrant visas to over 53, Azerbaijani tourists, businessmen, and students, all of whom had the chance to meet Americans face-to-face, strengthening the ties between our two countries.
The Contract of the Century was more than a business deal.Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia hold trilateral summit in Baku
It was a decision about the direction of the country, a decision to break with the past and move toward greater links with the wider world and a more prosperous future. It sent a message to the world that Azerbaijan would act in the interests of its people rather than bow to pressure to remain closed off from the world.
United States Presidents from Clinton to Obama have supported that historic decision and the project was reinforced with the ground breaking on the Southern Gas Corridor 20 years later.
Those business ties are both supported by our strong relationship and make the links between our two countries more robust and varied. InAzerbaijan became part of the Generalized System of Preferences program, which gives duty-free access to U.
Azerbaijan, U.S. can build better future thanks to cooperation
Inwe celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, observing two decades of commercial cooperation with a trade mission that included 14 major American firms representing a wide array of sectors. This latest trade mission was further testament to the growing success and importance of economic relations between our countries. American companies are involved in helping Azerbaijan develop their capacity in petrochemical production, and a U.
But in business as in other areas, what we have done in the past is only the prologue to working together even more productively in the future.
To help build that more prosperous economic future, USAID is working to help Azerbaijanis, especially women and young Azerbaijanis, become entrepreneurs and create new businesses and jobs.
Plans are also underway to work with financial agencies to support reforms in the banking sector and monetary policy to strengthen financial stability. With several successful demonstrations recently of the ability to move goods economically and efficiently from China to central and western Europe through Central Asia and the new facilities at Alat, Azerbaijan is showing the exciting possibilities offered by the revival of the Silk Road.
Those possibilities will be increased still further with the Port, and soon through the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars rail system. The revival of the ancient Silk Road will not just be a transport route, but should, like the system that existed for centuries, be a catalyst for entrepreneurship, innovation, and individual creativity.
Again, the United States has been and will continue to work with partners in Azerbaijan to provide expertise, services, equipment, and technology to realize this vision. The security dialogue with the Pentagon provided a concrete example of U. It established a relationship that deeply appreciates Azerbaijan as a stalwart partner on security issues.