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Friday, 01 June 2018 00:00

Why Azerbaijan matters for the West

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Why Azerbaijan matters for the West http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map/azerbaijan-political-map.htm

 

On April 11, the people of Azerbaijan will be voting in presidential elections on the eve of a major milestone in the country’s history. May 2018 is the centennial anniversary of the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, established after the collapse of the Russian Empire but crushed by Soviet forces two years later. Modern Azerbaijan is the inheritor of the first independent state and maintaining its sovereignty is key to security in the South Caucasus and adjoining regions.

Since regaining independence in October 1991, Azerbaijan has become a bridge between several regions as well as an energy and transportation hub, important for Europe, Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East and the United States. Azerbaijan is at the heart of Europe’s gateway to Central Asia and a critical transportation and over-flight zone for NATO supplies in its military operations in Afghanistan. With the newly developed transportation corridors, Azerbaijan will have a central position in the Silk Roads between China and Europe.

Following the “contract of the century” in 1994, when a consortium of foreign oil companies, led by BP, entered a production-sharing agreement to develop Azerbaijan’s Caspian oil reserves, the country has channeled its oil exports westward. This was a strategic choice for Azerbaijan in an effort to seek alliances and gain prominence in the West, a choice that aimed to balance the influence of foreign powers in the country and thereby ensure its security.

Azerbaijan has been a source of attraction for American business. U.S. companies, including, Exxon, Unicol, Amoco, Chevron, McDermott, Halliburton and Boeing earned billions of dollars in the country benefiting from favorable economic conditions during the years of independence. AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan) has organized visits by these companies for several years and supported cooperation with local business.

 

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/9/why-azerbaijan-matters-for-the-west/

 

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