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Remarks Following Discussions With President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan

April 28, 2006

President Bush. Mr. President, welcome. We've just had a really interesting visit. And we talked about the need to—for the world to see a modern Muslim country that is able to provide for its citizens, that understands that democracy is the wave of the future. And I appreciate your leadership, Mr. President.

We, obviously, talked about Iran. I assured the President of my desire to solve this problem diplomatically and peacefully. I appreciate so very much the Government's contribution of support in troops to the new democracy in Iraq. I spent time describing to the President a meeting I had today via video conference with our Ambassador and General Casey—very important for me to bring our ally up to date on the progress that's being made on the ground there. I shared with him my hope that the national unity Government will help achieve the objective we all want, which is peace and democracy.

And we, of course, talked about energy. And I appreciate the vision of the Government and the vision of the President in helping this world achieve what we all want, which is energy security. Azerbaijan has got a very important role to play. And we discussed internal politics, and we discussed politics of the neighborhood as well, particularly relations with Armenia.

I appreciate very much the candid discussion. I thank you for sharing your thoughts with me, and thank you for our alliance. And welcome.

President Aliyev. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I am very grateful for the invitation. I'm very glad to be in Washington and have an opportunity to discuss with you the issues of bilateral relations. I'm sure that our relations of strategic partnership will strengthen in the future.

We covered all the aspects of our bilateral relations. We are very grateful for the leadership of the United States in promotion of the energy security issues in the region, in assisting us to create a solid transportation infrastructure which will allow to develop a full-scale Caspian oil and gas reserves and to deliver them to the international markets.

We are allies in the war on terror. We've been, from the very first day, shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the peacekeeping operations in various parts of the world, and will continue to contribute to the creation of peace and stability in the region.

Of course, the issues of resolution of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh are also in the center of our discussions. And we—I informed Mr. President with the latest status of the negotiations and expressed my hope that a peaceful settlement of the conflict will happen and will serve to the peace and stability in the whole region.

In general, I'd like to say that I'm very satisfied with my visit, and I consider this as instrumental in the future development of Azerbaijan as a modern, secular, democratic country. We share the same values. We are grateful for United States assistance in promotion of political process, process of democratization of our society, and very committed to continue this cooperation in the future.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

President Bush. One final word I forgot to mention. I do want to congratulate the President and the First Lady on the marriage of their daughter this weekend. It's a major sacrifice for the President to be here during the planning phases of the wedding. And we wish you and the First Lady all the best, and more importantly, we wish your daughter all the best.

President Aliyev. Thank you, Mr. President.

President Bush. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:49 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad; Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., USA, commanding general, Multi-National Force—Iraq; and President Aliyev's wife, Mehriban Aliyeva, and daughter, Leyla Aliyeva.

George W. Bush, Remarks Following Discussions With President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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