BAKU (Itar-Tass)–The 907 amendment to the Freedom Support Act–adopted by the US Congress about five years ago–which imposes restrictions on the rendering of assistance to Azerbaijan–is hampering the development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United States–Azeri President Gaidar Aliyev said on Thursday night at a meeting with US congressmen–who had come to Azerbaijan for a short visit.
The Azeri president believes that the amendment may become an obstacle on the way to the implementation of the agreemen’s–reached by the two countries–including in the sphere of developing energy resources of the Azeri sector of the Caspian Sea. The amendment should be canceled Aliyev said and stressed that Congress should have its say in it.
Despite the existence of a number of problems in relations between Azerbaijan and the United States–Aliyev still described them as good. In his opinion–the two countries are brought together by a number of factors–including the well-developed economic ties–especially in the oil sector.
Suffice it to say that most foreign companies–which are taking part in the development of Caspian energy resources–are American companies. The second factor is connected with America’s participation–along with Russia and France–in the settlement of the Armenian-Azeri conflict as the co-chairperson of the Minsk Group.
The Azeri president spoke in detail about the latest proposals of the Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement–which provide for the solution of the problem in two stages.
The first stage includes the liberation of six occupied districts of Azerbaijan–which are not part of Nagorno-Karabakh–and the return of refugees there.
The second stage envisages the liberation of the Shushi and Lachin Districts along with the simultaneous solution of the problem of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan accepted those proposals–Aliyev stressed–but added with regret that there was no unity in Armenia on that issue.
"The initiatives are not an optimal way for us–but we accepted them as a compromise," the Azeri leader said. He believes it is equally important for Azerbaijan and Armenia to do it.
Nagorno-Karabakh should give up the idea of achieving full independence–Aliyev stressed. In his opinion–this would get the peace process out of an impasse.