Azerbaijan an important strategic ally for the United States

Oct 10, 2005 02:00 AM

Speech by Hon. Ted Poe of Texas in the house of representatives.

Mr Speaker, Azerbaijan is an important strategic ally for the United States. The Country is located in a region that can produce and transport energy products to the West. As well as provide military and intelligence capabilities to the United States.
Azerbaijan is an emerging major non-OPEC oil producer and transit country (i.e. Baku-Ceyhan pipeline), which will supply 1.6 mm bpd after being operational December 2005. This will stabilize the other energy producing countries (oil and gas) in the region and their ability to get their product to the marketplace without the dependency of Russia or Iran.

Azerbaijan is a front line positioned state for military and intelligence access to Iran. This will act as a stabilizing effect for the region and fight off the aggressive position of Iran. It will also work against terrorist activities spread by fundamental terrorist who have the support of Iran.
Azerbaijan is the first Muslim state to provide troops to the US backed coalitions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. To date, they are the only Shiite Muslim state to provide troops.

Azerbaijan is in the vanguard of the emerging democracies from the former Soviet Union. Azerbaijan has parliamentary elections scheduled November 6, 2005, and is moving forward with international support to assure free and fair elections. Azerbaijan has allowed opposition parties the right to organize, protest, and access public television.
Azerbaijan maintains excellent relations with the State of Israel, both, diplomatically and economically including providing crude oil. Azerbaijan is a strong strategic partner with the United States and is cooperating in United States activities regarding Caspian regional security overseeing Iran (e.g., Caspian Guards program, radar system, fly-over rights and re-fuelling capacity).

Azerbaijan is a strategic asset given its presence as a strong United States-Israel ally next to Iran. Azerbaijan welcomes trade with Israel and stronger ties between the two countries.
Iran has threatened Azerbaijan due to cooperation with Israel and the United States Iran continues to inform Azerbaijan that their strong relations with the United States and Israel will not be beneficial, as Iran is their neighbour. The Iran military enters Azerbaijan airspace weekly and Iran has made claims on Azerbaijan's offshore oil and gas exploration.

Iran has attempted to spread Madrassas schools in Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan has resisted. Iran pressures Azerbaijan to abolish visas between the two countries, which would lead to less control and more Iranians infiltration into Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is resisting this effort.
Occupied Azerbaijan (NK Region) is on the Iranian border, where alleged terrorist camps, narcotic trafficking and weapons trading goes on. Since Armenia has occupied this region of Azerbaijan, almost 16 % of the total country, this activity has existed with the support of Iran. Azerbaijan is defenceless in trying to stop this activity, as long as Armenia occupies this region.

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