Turan Collage

Turan Collage

On June 27, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O'Brien will begin a significant visit to Azerbaijan. According to the US State Department, O'Brien is set to engage in high-level discussions with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, and other senior officials in Baku. The agenda includes reviewing progress in U.S.-Azerbaijani bilateral relations and discussing U.S. support for a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Additionally, O'Brien will meet with members of civil society.

In a prelude to his visit, James O'Brien addressed the House Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, outlining the key messages he intends to convey to President Aliyev. O'Brien emphasized the urgency of establishing peace, declaring, "We have made it absolutely clear to President Aliyev that the time has come to establish peace."

O'Brien's remarks underscore the broader geopolitical significance of peace in the region. "This is a problem not only for Azerbaijan, which hopes to be respected as a world leader because it holds COP29, but also for the entire region and Central Asia," O'Brien stated. He highlighted that Central Asian countries, which currently rely on export routes through China or Russia, would benefit from alternative pathways through Azerbaijan. One such route extends through Georgia to the Black Sea, while another potential route could traverse Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkey. "This is why we need a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia to end the war and the terrible conflict that has existed since the 90s. Our message is that it's time to establish peace," he asserted.

O'Brien also noted that his discussions with President Aliyev would cover the importance of human rights. "This is a constant topic of conversation," O'Brien said, adding that Secretary Blinken had recently spoken with Aliyev on this matter. "I look forward to continuing this conversation," he added.

The visit marks a crucial moment in U.S.-Azerbaijani relations, as both nations seek to navigate the complexities of regional politics and economic development. Azerbaijan's strategic position as a transit hub is increasingly pivotal, especially given the current geopolitical tensions and the need for diversified export routes for Central Asia. The anticipated peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia is seen as a linchpin for regional stability and economic integration.

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