President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State overseeing policy for Southern Europe and the Caucasus Erika Olson.
The delegation includes US State Department's Senior Adviser on Caucasus Negotiations Andrew Schofer, the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Earle Litzenberger, US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan and US Ambassador to Armenia Lynne Tracy.
During the meeting, the sides focused on the prospects for developing bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and the United States. It was also noted that this year marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and the United States. During this period, successful cooperation has been established between the two countries, particularly in the energy sector.
The sides also exchanged views on regional issues, discussed the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the preparation of a peace agreement, as well as the opening of communications. President Ilham Aliyev said that the Azerbaijani delegation was ready to start negotiations on a peace agreement.
The head of state pointed to the devastation Armenia caused to Azerbaijan’s territories during the almost 30 years of occupation, the destruction of material and cultural traditions, including more than 60 mosques, and their use as stables. Noting that Armenia had planted a large number of mines in the territories during the occupation, President Ilham Aliyev stressed the problem of landmines Azerbaijan was currently facing and stressed the importance of US support in this regard.
During the conversation, the head of state said that more than 4,000 Azerbaijanis had gone missing since the First Karabakh War, many of whom had been tortured, killed and buried in mass graves by Armenia. He stressed the importance of providing information on the location of these cemeteries by Armenia, underlining the need for the US government's support in this regard.
The sides also exchanged views on ensuring lasting peace, stability and security in the region and other issues of mutual interest.