WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 2014 U.S.-Azerbaijan Convention convenes in Washington today at a critical time for global and regional security. The annual meeting celebrates two decades of strengthening relations and deepening strategic partnership between the United States and Azerbaijan. The 2014 Convention, organized by the Assembly of the Friends of Azerbaijan at the Willard Hotel, is the preeminent forum for discussions highlighting shared strategic interests, including energy security and peace, stability and regional cooperation.
Among the key discussion themes of the 2014 Convention are:
- Azerbaijan's strategic partnership with the United States: Based on shared values and common goals, its foundation is strong and built to last. Azerbaijan and the United States cooperate in countering terrorism, nuclear proliferation and narcotics trafficking and promoting security in the wider Caspian region and beyond.
- Azerbaijan's future as a part of the European family of democracies: Azerbaijan utilizes rich Caspian resources and the South Caucasus' vast potential for strengthening good-neighborly relations, integrating the region into European and global markets and promoting Euro-Atlantic security and stability. Active engagement of the United States and the European Union in the region will help Azerbaijan consolidate these achievements.
- Shared vision for future development of Caspian Sea energy resources: Azerbaijan is helping to develop an independent Southern Corridor energy supply route. Successive U.S. Administrations strongly support opening a new Southern Corridor to bring Caspian natural resources to Europe. The development of the Southern Corridor is a key for Europe's energy security and diversification, as well as its overall strategic interest.
- The Southern Gas Corridor, security and stability for European natural gas markets: Azerbaijan's sound energy policy improves energy security for Europe, Israel and the rest of the world, countries that have historically been dependent on Russian and Middle Eastern resources. The planned Southern Gas Corridor will connect Caspian gas to Europe in conjunction with the second phase of Shah Deniz development, and could one day supply 10 to 20 percent of the EU's natural gas needs.
- Azerbaijan's prominent role in global intercultural dialogue: Azerbaijan is a secular country with a predominantly Muslim population that enjoys a centuries-long tradition of peaceful cooperation between Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities. As both member of European multilateral institutions and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Azerbaijan is viewed as a natural bridge that connects various civilizations and a strong partner in promoting diversity.
The Assembly of the Friends of Azerbaijan, with the support of the country's largest energy company, SOCAR, is leading this annual dialogue and agenda setting effort. For full details and program, visit www.usazconvention.org or follow @US_AZ on Twitter.
ABOUT ASSEMBLY OF THE FRIENDS OF AZERBAIJAN: Assembly of the Friends of Azerbaijan (AFAZ) is an educational, charitable, cultural, and business organization incorporated based in Houston, Texas. AFAZ was formed to build bridges between the United States and Azerbaijan while educating the American public about issues related to U.S.-Azeri relations and to Azeri-Americans. AFAZ engages and cultivates a new generation of young Azeri-American leaders; promotes the interests of the Azeri-American community and Azeris; fosters friendship, understanding and cooperation between the United States and Azerbaijan; and serves as a think tank and center of expertise on Azerbaijan and Americans of Azeri descent.
SOURCE Assembly of the Friends of Azerbaijan