Azerbaijani President Aliyev with U.S. President Bush (Courtesy Photo)
WASHINGTON, April 28, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush today welcomed Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev for talks that ranged from their joint efforts in Iraq and against international terrorism and Iran's nuclear program to Azerbaijan's dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh and democratic reforms.
In the days running up to the meeting, Aliyev had made it clear that he will not allow his country to be used for any operations against neighboring Iran. Bush sought to allay Azerbaijan's concerns, saying the United States wants to resolve the crisis over Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy.
Iran has a large Azeri minority.
On another security issue, Aliyev thanked Bush for "the leadership of the United States in the promotion of energy security issues in the region, in assisting us to create a solid transportation infrastructure which will allow [us] to develop full-scale Caspian oil and gas reserves and to deliver them to the international markets."