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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Azerbaijan president begins first visit to US

WASHINGTON, April 26 (Itar-Tass) - Ilham Aliyev is beginning his first visit as Azerbaijan’s president to the US. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov told reporters on Tuesday that the agenda of Aliyev’s visit included energy security, the fight of terrorism, settlement of conflicts in the Caucasus and the situation around Iran. The Azerbaijani leader will meet on Wednesday the leaders of Congress. He will also speak in one of the US’ most authoritative foreign policy organizations, the Council on Foreign Relations. On Thursday, Aliyev will hold talks with several representatives of the US administration, including First Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zellick, who is temporarily replacing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her foreign tour. An American-Azerbaijani summit will cap the visit on Friday. Announcing Aliyev’s upcoming meeting with US President George Bush, White House press secretary Scott McClellan called Azerbaijan a “key ally” of the United States in a strategically important region of the world and a “valued partner” giving help in Iraq matters.

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