Azerbaijan–United States relations
This article needs to be updated.May 2019)(
A first encounter of the United States-Azerbaijani inter-state relations was the meeting between President of the United States Woodrow Wilson and the delegation of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Azerbaijani delegates were unimpressed by the meeting in Paris, as instead of recognition, President Wilson advised them to develop a confederation with Transcaucasian neighbours on the basis of a mandate granted by the League of Nations. The Azerbaijani question, Wilson concluded, could not be solved prior to the general settlement of the Russian question. But recalling this meeting in his speech at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco on September 18, 1919, Wilson outlined his positive impression of Azerbaijani delegation:
Do you know where Azerbaijan is? Well, one day there came in a very dignified and interesting group of gentlemen who were from Azerbaijan. I didn't have time, until they were gone, to find out where they came from. But I did find this out immediately: that I was talking to men who talked the same language that I did in respect of ideas, in respect of conceptions of liberty, in respect of conceptions of right and justice.
Whereas neighbouring Armenia was recognised by the United States on April 23, 1920, Azerbaijan remained unrecognised by the US - reason being its occupation of Elisabethpol Governorate, which the US recognised as Armenian soil. Following the Red Army invasion in April 1920, Azerbaijan SSR was proclaimed, which in 1922 joined Soviet Union as a part of the Transcaucasian Federative Soviet Socialist Republic. No direct inter-state relations existed between Azerbaijan SSR and the United States.
On October 18, 1991, the Azerbaijani parliament adopted a declaration of independence. Subsequently, on December 25, 1991, Soviet Union ceased its existence and the United States formally recognized 12 former Soviet republics, including Azerbaijan, as independent states. On March 6, 1992, Azerbaijan opened its embassy in Washington, and on March 16, 1992, the United States opened its embassy in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
Speaking at a conference on U.S.-Azerbaijani relations at Georgetown University in September 2009, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns outlined three main areas of interest for the United States in its bilateral relations with Azerbaijan: security cooperation, energy, and economic and democratic reform.
Modern U.S.-Azerbaijani relations have been strongly influenced by the U.S. official position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The U.S. was actively involved in the attempts to resolve the conflict since 1992. As a part of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE; now OSCE) mission, US Secretary of State James Baker III proposed a set of rules named after him, which eventually defined the representation of the conflicting sides within the OSCE Minsk Group negotiation format.
In 1992, the U.S. Congress adopted Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which banned any direct U.S. aid to the government of Azerbaijan. The ban made Azerbaijan the only exception to the Post-Soviet states receiving U.S. government aid for facilitating economic and political stability. Passage of Section 907 was influenced by the powerful Armenian American lobby in the U.S. Congress, in response to the blockade imposed by Azerbaijan on Armenia in the course of the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Azerbaijanis consider this legislation to be unfair as, during the same period of time, Armenian forces took control of the fifth of Azerbaijani territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh. Consecutive George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush administrations opposed Section 907, viewing it as an impediment to impartial U.S. foreign policy in the region and an obstacle to the U.S. role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict mediation efforts. In her 1998 letter to the House Appropriations Committee chairman, Bob Livingston, then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright wrote:
Section 907 damages US national interests by undermining the administration's neutrality in promoting a settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh, its ability to encourage economic and broad legal reforms in Azerbaijan, and efforts to advance an East-West energy transport corridor.
After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Congress passed the foreign appropriations legislation of 2002, granting President the right to waive Section 907. In view of Azerbaijan's contribution and support for the US military operations in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush waived the section in January 2002; and President Barack Obama further extended that waiver.
The U.S.-Azerbaijani security relations developed along several paths, including Azerbaijan's active participation in the NATO's Partnership for Peace program and the U.S.-led missions in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq; and the bilateral military ties to ensure Caspian energy and transportation security. In support of the U.S.-led War on Terror, apart from troop contributions, Azerbaijan provided overflight, refueling, and landing rights for U.S. and coalition aircraft bound for Afghanistan and Iraq; shared information to combat terrorism financing; detained and prosecuted suspected terrorists. Apart from usage of Azerbaijani airspace by U.S. air forces, over one-third of all of the nonlethal equipment including fuel, clothing, and food used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan travels through Baku. In November 2011, the United States Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus met with the Azerbaijani President and Defense Minister announcing the military ties between their countries would expand. The U.S. State Department already offered Azerbaijan $10 million to enhance its security structures in the Caspian Sea earlier that year.
U.S.–Azerbaijani ties in economic sphere developed primarily in the context of Caspian energy resources and their transportation to Western markets. The U.S. companies are actively involved in the development of Caspian hydrocarbons in offshore Azerbaijani oilfields, and the U.S. government actively supported the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline as the primary route of transportation for Caspian oil.
In January 2008, commenting on a trip to Azerbaijan by Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John C.K. Daily of UPI called Azerbaijan "the one remaining friend that America has in the Caspian basin". During this visit Sen. Lugar also suggested that he along with fellow Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Joseph Biden, D-Del., endorsed the need for "a special representative focused on energy issues in the Caspian to safeguard long-term U.S. interests" in a letter they sent earlier to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The United States has signed a bilateral trade agreement with Azerbaijan, granting it the status of a "most favored nation", in 1995; and a bilateral investment treaty with Azerbaijan, naming it a beneficiary country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, in 2008. The U.S. also supports Azerbaijan's application for accession to the World Trade Organization.
Remarks made by U.S. officials praise Azerbaijan’s as the first secular democracy in a majority-Muslim nation. In spite of this, it commonly scores poorly in independent assessments of democratic governance published by non-governmental organizations. For example, Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2018 report listed Azerbaijan as “not free”, with a score of 12/100. One component of the aid package provided by the U.S. government to Azerbaijan focuses on democratic development assistance “with an emphasis on support for civil society, independent media, and rule of law.” The largest part of this assistance is provided by the United States Agency for International Development.
In 2014, Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas O. Melia of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor noted in a written testimony that “Azerbaijan has taken some positive steps” in building democratic institutions and developing democratic norms. “More broadly, however, we have been seeing increasing constraints on fundamental freedoms that increase the risk of domestic instability, undermine confidence the rule of law will be respected, and prevent Azerbaijanis from reaching their full potential.” United States Department of State press releases between 2011-2016 note concern with the actions of the Azerbaijan government over the sentencing of journalists and human rights activists as part of a “broad pattern of increasing restrictions on human rights in Azerbaijan.” Deputy Assistant Secretary Melia’s statement lists a number of democratic transgressions, including limiting foreign NGO involvement, incarcerating journalists and peaceful protestors, and withholding travel rights to activists. “These are not the kinds of actions the United States or the broader international community wants to see from a partner, an OSCE participating State, and currently the chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.“
Eric Rubin, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, also commented on Azerbaijan’s democratic track record. In a testimony submitted to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2014, he wrote:
“I want to emphasize that the United States remains committed to a constructive dialogue with Azerbaijan based on friendship between our people and mutual respect between our governments. But a constructive dialogue means that we can and must have frank and honest discussions in areas where we disagree. Discussing matters of agreement and disagreement in a candid way is part of the nature of a serious dialogue. We therefore have been disappointed by allegations by some of Azerbaijan’s authorities that the United States is interfering in the country’s domestic affairs when we share our views or send democracy-related delegations to Azerbaijan."
Azerbaijani presidential visits to the United States
|President||Date||Type of visit||Sources|
|President H.Aliyev||25-30 September 1994||working visit|||
|President H.Aliyev||20-26 October 1995||working visit|||
|President H.Aliyev||27 July- 6 August 1997||official visit|||
|President H.Aliyev||22-27 April 1999||working visit|||
|President H.Aliyev||12-18 February 2000||working visit|||
|President H.Aliyev||4-9 September 2000||working visit|||
|President H.Aliyev||1-13 April 2001||working visit|||
|President H.Aliyev||14-23 February 2003||official visit|||
|President I.Aliyev||25-28 April 2006||official visit|||
|President I.Aliyev||24 September 2010||working visit|||
|President I.Aliyev||2-4 May 2012||working visit|||
|President I.Aliyev||20-21 May 2012||working visit|||
|President I. Aliyev||April 1, 2016||official visit|||
|President I.Aliyev||September 19, 2017||official visit|||
- Bulletin d'Information de l'Azerbaidjan, No. I, September 1, 1919, pp. 6–7
- U.S. Global Leadership Project Report - 2012 Gallup
- Report of the Delegation, No. 7, June, 1919, Fund of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dossier No. 3, p. 7, as cited in Raevskii, Английская интервенция и Мусаватское правительство, p. 53
- Saum, Steven Boyd (2004) [Sep 18, 1919]. "Woodrow Wilson: The Peace Treaty and the Covenant of the League of Nations". Each a mighty voice: a century of speeches from the Commonwealth Club of California. Heyday. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-890771-87-4.
- The Commonwealth Club of California (1920) [Sep 1919]. "Address by President Wilson". Transactions. 14. San Francisco. p. 376.
- James P. Nichol. Diplomacy in the Former Soviet Republics, Praeger/Greenwood, 1995, ISBN 0-275-95192-8, p. 150
- Betty Blair (1993). "Azerbaijan International: Regional Stability and US Interests". 1–2. Azerbaijan International.
- "U.S. Department of State. U.S.-Azerbaijan relations". Retrieved 2010-07-08.
- Larson, Christina (Sep 2006). "Hoosier Daddy". Washington Monthly. Archived from the original on 2008-04-30.
- Burns, William J. (Sep 18, 2009). "Remarks: U.S.-Azerbaijan Relations". Georgetown University: Department of State.
- Maresca, John J. (2000). "The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh". In Jentleson, Bruce W. (ed.). Opportunities missed, opportunities seized: preventive diplomacy in the post-Cold War world. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 78–80. ISBN 978-0-8476-8559-2.
To make early negotiations possible, the United States also brokered an agreement under which both the Armenian and the Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno-Karabakh would participate separately in the Minsk Group, though not as sovereign states.
- U.S. Public Law No: 102-511
- Croissant, Michael; Aras, Bülent (1999). Oil and geopolitics in the Caspian Sea Region. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-275-96395-8.
It was passed by the US Congress at the insistence of a powerful Armenian lobby
- U.S. Denies Aid to Azerbaijan
- "Oil and Turmoil in the Caucasus". Washington Post. Jul 19, 1997.
Section 907 was enacted over the opposition of the Bush administration and now is opposed by the Clinton administration
- Cornell, Svante E. (2001). Small nations and great powers: a study of ethnopolitical conflict in the Caucasus. Psychology Press. p. 376. ISBN 978-0-7007-1162-8.
- 107th U.S. Congress (Jan 10, 2002). "Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2002". Public Law 107-115.
- Cornell, Svante E. (2010). Azerbaijan Since Independence. M.E.Sharpe. p. 410. ISBN 978-0-7656-3003-2.
- Chouldjian, Elizabeth S. (Jan 25, 2002). "President Bush waives Section 907". Press Release. Armenian National Committee of America.
- Nichol, Jim (Apr 9, 2009). "Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia: Political developments and implications for US interests". CRS Report for Congress. Congressional Research Service. p. 2.
- Richard Solash (2011-12-29). "U.S. Ambassador To Azerbaijan Leaving Post". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- "Azerbaijan, U.S. to Expand Military Ties". CRI English. 2011-11-22. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- Bülent Gökay. The Politics of Caspian Oil, Palgrave Macmillan, 2001, ISBN 0-333-73973-6, p. 195
- Daily, John C.K. (2008-01-18). "Analysis: U.S. has ally in Azerbaijan". United Press International. Archived from the original on 22 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- Melia, Thomas O. “U.S.-Azerbaijan Relations: The Democracy and Human Rights Dimension.” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, 11 June 2014, 2009-2017. https://2009-2017.state.gov/j/drl/rls/rm/2014/227450.htm.
- “Azerbaijan.” Freedom House, Freedomhouse.org, 27 Mar. 2018, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/azerbaijan
- Toner, Mark C. “Sentencing of Azerbaijani Investigative Journalist Khadija Ismayilova.” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, 1 Sept. 2015, 2009-2017. https://state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/09/246534.htm.
- Rubin, Eric. “The Security, Economic and Human Rights Dimensions of U.S.-Azerbaijan Relations”, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, 11 June 2014, 2009-2017.
- "Reply of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to a reporter`s question at Bina Airport before his leave for the United States of America in order to take part at the 49th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations - September 25, 1994". lib.aliyev-heritage.org. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- "The speech of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the official reception held by the oil Consortium of the USA in honor of the Azerbaijani President - New-York, October 24, 1995". lib.aliyev-heritage.org. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- "Official visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the United States of America (July 27 - August 6, 1997)". lib.aliyev-heritage.org. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- "Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at a meeting, held at the US Naval Academy, during his visit to the United States of America - April 23, 1999". lib.aliyev-heritage.org. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- "Azerbaijan - Visits by Foreign Leaders - Department History - Office of the Historian". history.state.gov. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- "Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the leaders of major Jewish organizations in USA - September 8, 2000". lib.aliyev-heritage.org. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- "President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev met President of the United States of America George Bush - Washington, 9 April 2001". lib.aliyev-heritage.org. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- Tran, Mark (2010-09-23). "United Nations general assembly – live". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- "Working visit of Ilham Aliyev to the United States of America". en.president.az. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- "Chicago NATO Summit 2012 | The Official Host Committee site for the 2012 NATO Summit". www.chicagonato.org. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- "4th Nuclear Security Summit begins in Washington". currentaffairs.gktoday.in. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- "U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 19, 2107". U.S. Embassy & Consulates in the United Kingdom. 2017-09-20. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
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