Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev speaks to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, April 26, at the start of his visit to the U.S. (AFP)
April 28, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev today thanked U.S. President George W. Bush for helping maintain energy security in the Caspian region.
The two leaders met at the White House in Washington. Afterward, Bush said Aliyev and his government have worked hard to ensure a secure flow of energy from the Caspian region, and Aliyev thanked Bush for his help.
"We are very grateful 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."
Bush and Aliyev said they also discussed their joint efforts in Iraq, efforts against international terrorism, Azerbaijan's dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, democratic reform in Azerbaijan, and Iran's nuclear program.
Bush said he assured Aliev that the United States wants to resolve the crisis over Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy.
Aliev had made it clear earlier this week he would not allow his country to be used for any operations against neighboring Iran.