March 4, 2014 -- Baku -- An AJC delegation concluded a three-day visit to Baku, Azerbaijan. This was the global Jewish agency's fourth visit to the nation since 2008 and fifth meeting with President Ilham Aliyev.
In addition to the 75 minute-long meeting with the President, the delegation was also received by Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov; Chair of the State Committee on Diaspora Affairs Nazim Ibrahimov; Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz; U.S. Ambassador Richard Morningstar; German Ambassador Heidrun Tempel; Military Adviser to the President Vahid Aliyev; and a top official of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR).
The main topics of discussion included Azerbaijani-U.S. and Azerbaijani-Israeli relations, as well as recent developments in the region, including the current situation in Ukraine.The ten-person AJC delegation also met with leaders of the local Jewish community during visits to three synagogues in Baku. Azerbaijan is a predominately Shiite Muslim country that is staunchly secular and pluralistic in its identity. The Jewish community of Azerbaijan is an integral part of the nation's cultural fabric and has lived largely free of anti-Semitism.
Azerbaijan is also a critical geopolitical partner of the United States and enjoys warm relations with the State of Israel.
"Unless and until you visit Azerbaijan and see the country first-hand, you cannot imagine the dynamism and strategic importance of this nation -- to the U.S., to Europe, and yes, to the State of Israel," explained AJC Executive Director David Harris.
"Sandwiched throughout much of its history among the Persian, Ottoman, and Russian empires, the independence, development, and potential we witnessed in Baku is truly something to behold," said Harris. "We shall eagerly look forward to our next visit."
David Harris is Executive Director, Edward and Sandra Meyer Office of the Executive Director
Date: 3/4/2014 12:00:00 AM