Sen. Wicker: Azerbaijan’s partnership with U.S. fosters democracy, security in difficult region

At the end of this month, Azerbaijan will conclude its first-ever term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. This elected role as the representative for Eastern European nations underscores an important transformation over the past two decades. Today, Azerbaijan is an increasingly influential leader in the Caucasus region.

Azerbaijan’s continued recognition on the world stage is especially advantageous for the United States, given our two countries’ mutual interests. We share serious concerns about a nuclear Iran and a more assertive Russia. We also seek a safer and more prosperous world, where terrorists are on the run and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is on the decline.

America swiftly saw Azerbaijan’s steadfast commitment to fight terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Azerbaijan extended an early pledge of support for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, granting overflight rights and later dispatching troops to serve alongside American soldiers. Now, stabilization efforts in Afghanistan are bolstered by Azerbaijan’s strategic location for transporting supplies by land, sea, and air. More than a third of the equipment sent to U.S. troops in Afghanistan flies over or moves through the capital city of Baku. In keeping with its pledge to combat terrorism, Azerbaijan has promised aid to support Afghanistan’s security forces even after NATO troops are scheduled to withdraw next year.

Sen. Roger Wicker