On March 24, 2015, the U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC), based in Washington, D.C., hosted a formal reception to welcome the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert F. Cekuta.
Executive Director Susan Sadigova welcomed Ambassador Cekuta and Ambassador Suleymanov, USACC members and guests from the U.S. Department of State and Department of Commerce. She thanked both ambassadors for the commitment to the mission of the organization in expanding bilateral trade and business ties between two countries and gave the floor to the Co-Chairman of the organization, Congressman (ret.) Bill Delahunt.
Co-Chairman Delahunt highlighted Ambassador Cekuta’s extensive background in economics and trade and his numerous awards and acknowledgments throughout the course of his career at State Department. “Ambassador Cekuta really personifies a public service to the country and I would like to thank him for his service,” he added. Mr. Delahunt said he was confident Ambassador Cekuta was going to further enhance the relationship that is vital to U.S. government.
Elin Suleymanov, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to United States, then thanked the organizers and honorary guests and expressed his pleasure to see Ambassador Cekuta as an Ambassador to Azerbaijan. He also labeled the relationship between two countries as fundamentally important and strategic and noted the importance of encouraging more people to see that.
Ambassador Cekuta took the stage next. He mentioned that one of his first goals as a new Ambassador was to put U.S.-Azerbaijani relationship in a very strong and positive path. “There is a strong potential for very deep and beneficial economic relations between Azerbaijan and the U.S.,” he said. He reminded the guests that 2014 was a great year in civil aviation as Azerbaijan received Category 1 rating from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which resulted in launching a non-stop flight between New York and Baku. “To build on that success, the counties are in the process of negotiating Open Skies Agreement,” he added.
Ambassador Cekuta then emphasized that United States remains a strong supporter of Azerbaijan in its efforts to diversify Europe’s energy supply. “The expansion of South Caucasus pipeline along with the construction of Transadriatic pipeline will complete Southern Gas Corridor to bring Caspian gas to Western Europe in a very critical time and make an important contribution to Europe’s energy security. One of the areas for cooperation is to help Azerbaijan to diversify its economy and become a regional transportation, information technology hub and cultural leader as well as a destination of international tourists,” he said.
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