The America Days showcases the diversity of American culture to the citizens of Azerbaijan and promotes mutual understanding between the two countries.
Ambassador Cekuta Presents his credentials
Ambassador Cekuta presented his credentials to President Aliyev today. He is now looking forward to meeting with and hearing from Azerbaijanis from all aspects of society.
"Well, as many of you know, Sunday is World Press Freedom Day, a day in which we reaffirm the vital role that a free press plays in democracy and shining a light on the many challenges, cruelties and also hopeful stories that exist in countries all around the world.
Journalists give all of us, as citizens, the chance to know the truth about our countries, ourselves, our governments. That makes us better. It makes us stronger. It gives voice to the voiceless, exposes injustice, and holds leaders like me accountable.
Unfortunately, in too many places around the world, a free press is under attack by governments that want to avoid the truth or mistrust the ability of citizens to make their own decisions. Journalists are harassed, sometimes even killed. Independent outlets are shut down. Dissent is silenced. And freedom of expression is stifled..." »
Department Spokesperson on "Free the Press" Cases in Azerbaijan
We continue our Free the Press campaign with two more cases today. The first comes from Azerbaijan, where 12 journalists and bloggers remain detained or imprisoned on government orders. Among the 12, Mr. Hilal Mammadov – Mammadov, I think – has been imprisoned since 2013. There he is on the screen. He was arrested in 2012 on charges of treason, incitement of ethnic hatred, and drug possession, and sentenced to five years in prison in 2013.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers his detention arbitrary, and has requested his immediate release in March 2014. A number of international human rights groups have also called for his release. We join them in calling for the immediate release of him and other journalists and bloggers who were incarcerated for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression. We call for an end to all such prosecutions and other forms of pressure on the independent press, and for Azerbaijan to honor its commitments to freedom of expression.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Hoagland’s Remarks at the Forum on Latvian Presidency and EU Policy Towards Central Asia
It’s always an honor to be invited to speak at the Central Asia and Caucasus Institute. But I have to admit it’s also a little daunting because of the presence of the eminent scholar of Central Asia, Dr. Fred Starr. So from the very beginning, Fred, let me ask your indulgence and recognition that I am, after all, both a diplomat and a bureaucrat – a diplocrat, if you will – representing official U.S. government policy.
As someone who has been involved in U.S. Central Asian policy for more than a decade, let me say that some might see our policy as a little too aspirational and a little too unfocused, but I would argue that the concept is right. And I am grateful that we have a partner like Latvia that has a similarly far-sighted vision for the region.
I want to commend Latvia for having designated Central Asia as one of its priorities of its EU presidency. I think this is increasingly seen as prescient and very timely. Full remarks... »
The U.S. Embassy is aware of recent local media reports attacking the U.S.-Azerbaijan relationship. Claims that the United States is working to overthrow the Azerbaijani government are patently false and do an injustice to more than two decades of close cooperation between our countries. The United States stood by Azerbaijan in the early days of its independence and took actions, including our support for the Contract of the Century, that helped secure Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and success.
Our cooperation has only broadened with time. America worked closely with Azerbaijan during its tenure on the UN Security Council. The United States has provided over $1.3 billion in assistance and humanitarian supplies to Azerbaijan since 1992. That assistance has included improvements to health care and sanitation; scholarships and training in the United States for over 5,000 Azerbaijanis; empowering Azerbaijani women in business and other roles: technical assistance to help farmers improve productivity and profits; and military cooperation that has enabled Azerbaijan to take on its meaningful role in global security and counterterrorism.
Our support for Azerbaijan comes from the highest levels of the U.S. government. Secretary Kerry has met and corresponded with President Aliyev to discuss ways to strengthen our partnership. There should be no doubt that the United States remains committed to partnering with Azerbaijan to achieve the most independent, stable, prosperous, democratic future possible. »
USAID announces additional assistance for Nepal earthquake response
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced an additional $9 million in assistance for the Nepal earthquake response and recovery efforts, bringing total USAID humanitarian funding to $10 million. USAID has also activated search and rescue teams from Fairfax County, VA and Los Angeles County, CA as part of its Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART).
The funding will be used to address immediate, life-saving priorities, including search and rescue efforts, the provision of emergency shelter, clean water, sanitation, and additional needs that emerge in the coming days. The assistance will also support Nepal’s recovery efforts and build upon USAID’s longstanding partnerships and development assistance.
“This emergency assistance builds on our years of support for risk reduction partnerships in Nepal,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, Director of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. “Those partnerships—which include work USAID has supported to train local authorities on urban search and rescue and to pre-position emergency commodities—now provide a strong foundation for the relief effort and Nepal’s recovery.”
Statement by Secretary Kerry on The Earthquake in Nepal
I join the people of the United States in expressing our deepest condolences to all of those affected by today's earthquake in Nepal, including the families of those who died in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.
We are working closely with the government of Nepal to provide assistance and support. Ambassador Bodde has issued a disaster declaration in order to immediately release an initial $1 million for humanitarian assistance. USAID is preparing to deploy a Disaster Assistance Response Team and is activating an Urban Search and Rescue Team to accompany disaster experts and assist with assessments of the situation.
To the people in Nepal and the region affected by this tragedy we send our heartfelt sympathies. The United States stands with you during this difficult time.
Department of State Press Statement on the Conviction of Azerbaijani Human Rights Lawyer Intigam Aliyev
We are disturbed by the April 22 decision of an Azerbaijani court to sentence human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev to seven and a half years in prison, and a subsequent three-year ban from holding public office, on questionable charges.
One of the country’s most well-known human rights lawyers and head of the Legal Education Society, Aliyev worked extensively to promote the rule of law in Azerbaijan and defend peaceful activists. He submitted hundreds of cases to the European Court of Human Rights, winning a number of them.
We urge the Government of Azerbaijan to release Aliyev and others incarcerated in connection with exercising their fundamental freedoms. We also urge the government to afford all Azerbaijani citizens the rights guaranteed in the international agreements to which Azerbaijan has committed. »
We are deeply troubled by the April 16 decision of an Azerbaijani court to sentence prominent human rights activist Rasul Jafarov to a six and a half - year prison term on charges widely considered to be politically motivated. A founder and chairman of the Human Rights Club, Jafarov was arrested last August as part of a broad crackdown on human rights activists. His conviction is a further setback to Azerbaijan’s democratic development. We urge the Government of Azerbaijan to abide by its international commitments and respect the rights of its citizens. As a first step, we urge the authorities to release Mr. Jafarov and others incarcerated in connection with exercising their fundamental freedoms. Doing so would strengthen the country’s long-term stability and our bilateral relationship. »
Ambassador Cekuta delivered remarks at a two-day summit organized by the OSCE at ADA University on cyber security
He underscored the threat that cyber attacks pose to governments, businesses, and individuals and stressed the need to build cooperation between all sectors of society and between nations to protect vital infrastructure, economic well-being, and personal freedoms. Full text of remarks »
White House Releases Detailed Parameters of Plan of Action Regarding the Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program
Below are the key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program that were decided in Lausanne, Switzerland. These elements form the foundation upon which the final text of the JCPOA will be written between now and June 30, and reflect the significant progress that has been made in discussions between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran. Important implementation details are still subject to negotiation, and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. We will work to conclude the JCPOA based on these parameters over the coming months... Full document »
"Welcome to the judicial seminar on the Criminal Justice System in the United States. I am so pleased that experienced judges, such as yourselves, are interested in learning more about the U.S. legal system. I congratulate you all for your continual pursuit of professional development, both for American and Azerbaijani practitioners. More than 200 years after the founding fathers wrote the U.S. Constitution, legal experts and citizens still consider it a "living, breathing document." In the United States and surely in every other rule of law-based jurisdiction, the constitution and lesser laws are constantly being reinterpreted based on new realities and unanticipated events. And legislatures are constantly enacting new laws. These facts alone mean that judges and lawyers have to keep abreast of developments in the legal profession if they are to deliver sure justice..." »
Department of State Applauds Azerbaijani Laws to Stop Foreign Fighters
We applaud our European partners who are improving or introducing new laws to go after foreign fighters, including most recently Montenegro’s criminal code amendments on March 18th, Kosovo’s law signed on March 25th, and Spain’s new reforms passed on March 26th. Also Albania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Macedonia, Portugal, and Serbia have also signed or implemented new foreign fighter legislation, and it is now illegal throughout the western Balkans, for example, to travel to fight in a foreign conflict or to recruit, organize, and finance the participation of citizens in foreign military formations. These efforts are an important contribution to our broader strategy to mitigate the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, as discussed in February at the ministerial in Washington.
On March 24, 2015, the U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC), based in Washington, D.C., hosted a formal reception to welcome the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert F. Cekuta.
Executive Director Susan Sadigova welcomed Ambassador Cekuta and Ambassador Suleymanov, USACC members and guests from the U.S. Department of State and Department of Commerce. She thanked both ambassadors for the commitment to the mission of the organization in expanding bilateral trade and business ties between two countries and gave the floor to the Co-Chairman of the organization, Congressman (ret.) Bill Delahunt. »
SOCAR Awards Contract for OGPC Project to U.S. Company Fluor
The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), as a result of the bidding process, awarded Fluor Limited a contract to provide project management contractor services for its new oil-gas processing and petrochemical complex (OGPC) in Azerbaijan. Fluor will book the contract for an undisclosed value in 2015.
As the project management contractor, Fluor will support SOCAR’s selection and management of future contractors that will perform detailed engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and start-up of the gas processing plant as well as front-end engineering design, detailed engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and start-up of the petrochemical plants including associated offsite facilities.
“Fluor is proud to be selected by SOCAR as the project management contractor on this unique, world-scale project,” said Taco de Haan, president of Fluor’s Energy & Chemicals business for Europe, Africa and Middle East. “Fluor has demonstrated expertise in managing downstream megaprojects that will allow us to deliver the project on schedule while meeting safety, quality and cost objectives.”
The project will be performed from Fluor’s UK office in Farnborough where the company serves a wide range of industries including energy, chemicals, government, industrial, infrastructure, mining and power market sectors.
State Department on Release of Civil Society Activists
The United States welcomes the March 18 pardon and release of Bashir Suleymanli, the Executive Director of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center in Azerbaijan, as well as three others considered by Azerbaijani NGOs to have been incarcerated for their civic activism. We call on Azerbaijan to take additional positive steps in the months ahead, including the release of others considered to have been incarcerated for their civic activity. Doing so would demonstrate the government’s adherence to OSCE and other international commitments to uphold the fundamental freedoms of all its citizens.
A collaborative English language video game experience for students ages 12-16.
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There are six American Centers currently operating in Azerbaijan.
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OSCE Minsk Group
The Minsk Group spearheads the OSCE's efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh involving Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is co-chaired by France, the Russian Federation and the United States.