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Azerbaijan: Ambassador Calls U.S. Key Ally

Washington, 30 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Azerbaijan's Ambassador to the United States Hafiz Pashayev says his country considers America to be a key ally in maintaining Azerbaijan's independence.

Pashayev said in a statement to the press that the two countries have established friendly relations, and that this is reflected in President Heydar Aliyev's current visit to Washington.

Aliyev arrived in the U.S. capital last night from New York for three days of talks with U.S. officials. He has been invited to the White House for a working lunch with President Bill Clinton on Friday.

Pashayev said that as the first official meeting between the two heads of state, it will be a historic meeting.

He said they will discuss a broad range of issues, including energy development in the Caspian Sea, regional economic cooperation and negotiations to settle the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.