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Washington Says Ready To Work With Aliyev

U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, Richard Morningstar (file photo)
U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, Richard Morningstar (file photo)
The U.S. ambassador to Baku says Washington is looking forward to working closely with President Ilham Aliyev and the Azerbaijani government as Aliyev starts his new term in office.

Ambassador Richard Morningstar said in a statement on the U.S. Embassy's website that despite "differences" between the two sides, Washington would continue to work with the Azerbaijani government and civil society to promote democratic values and principles, as well as help resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The statement stressed the importance of U.S.-Azerbaijani cooperation on regional security, counterterrorism, energy security, and economic diversification.

On October 19, Aliyev was sworn in for his third presidential term following an election on October 9 that the OSCE criticized as "seriously flawed."

'No Plans' To Join Customs Union

Meantime, Azerbaijan says it has no plans to join a Russia-led Customs Union.

Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov told journalists on October 21 that joining such a "one-sided structure" would bring no advantages to Azerbaijan.

Last month, Azerbaijan's neighbor and longtime foe Armenia announced its intention to join the Customs Union, which comprises Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.

That move was criticized by EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele, who said that Yerevan could not then sign an Association Agreement with the EU at a summit in Vilnius in November.

Moscow, which has been pushing former Soviet republics to join the Customs Union, has said the union would be widened into a Eurasian economic union, modeled after the European Union, by 2015.

With reporting by Interfax and

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