Mammadyarov, Rice discuss key issues

Assa-Irada, Azerbaijan
Aug 4 2005

Baku, August 3, AssA-Irada -- Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has
expressed his content with the results of the meeting he held with
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington on Tuesday.

Mammadyarov, who arrived in Washington for a three-day visit on Monday,
has told journalists that during the meeting views were exchanged on
the role of the United States, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group,
in the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Upper
Garabagh, the current situation in the Caucasus, energy projects
in the Caspian basin, as well as on preparations for Azerbaijan's
parliamentary elections due in November and US-Azerbaijan ties.

"Rice pledged that the United States will strengthen its efforts to
settle the Upper Garabagh conflict," he said.

Touching upon the discussions on the upcoming elections, the minister
said that the United States wants to see the advancement of democracy
in Azerbaijan.

"As for bilateral economic relations, we held discussions on
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas
pipelines as well as e the Gars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway project
which is highly assessed by the United States." During the visit,
Mammadyarov will hold meetings in the Pentagon and National Security
Council and attend a roundtable, together with representatives of the
National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute and
International Foundation for Election Systems. The Minister is also
expected to brief members of the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce
on the economic reforms underway in Azerbaijan and speak at the
influential US Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.*