Washington, 4 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Azerbaijani embassy in Washington says U.S. President Bill Clinton has sent a letter to President Heydar Aliyev which calls the "rapidly expanding" commercial relationship between the two countries a "critical pillar" in bilateral ties.
The embassy says the letter was to mark the opening of the Fourth International Oil and Gas Exhibition in Baku today. It quotes the letter as noting that American energy companies were "pioneers in Azerbaijan and quickly recognized your country's great potential."
U.S. Commerce Department Ombudsman for the nations of the former Soviet Union, Jan Kalicki, is in Baku for the exhibition opening.
The embassy says American oil companies are participating in more than $15 billion in oil contracts with Azerbaijan.
The White House did not immediately confirm the letter, its normal practice.