(Extensions of Remarks - May 23, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E736]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                            HON. STEVE COHEN

                              of tennessee

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, May 22, 2013

  Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the people of the 
Republic of Azerbaijan--as they are celebrating the 95th anniversary of 
the Republic Day on May 28.
   The Republic Day commemorates the day Azerbaijan first declared 
independence from the Russian Empire on May 28, 1918. Though the 
independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan was ended by occupying 
Soviet forces in 1920, in its 2 years of independence Azerbaijan made 
important accomplishments on state-building, armed forces, education, 
their economy, and universal suffrage, from which it benefits today.
   Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan restored its 
independence in 1991. Parliament adopted the Constitution Act on the 
Restoration of the State of Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan 
on October 18, 1991.
   The last two decades of independence has not been without 
challenges. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan was violated and 
the Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan have 
been occupied by neighboring Armenia. In 1993 the UN Security Council 
adopted four resolutions demanding complete, unconditional, and 
immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied territories 
of Azerbaijan. I am happy that Azerbaijan is committed to peaceful 
resolution of the conflict with Armenia, and I support a swift, 
peaceful resolution to this conflict, as well.
   Azerbaijan is a key global security partner for the United States. 
Azerbaijan has extended important over-flight clearances for U.S. and 
NATO flights to support ISAF and has regularly provided landing and 
refueling operations at its airports for U.S. and NATO forces. Also, 
Azerbaijan plays an important role in the Northern Distribution 
Network, a supply route to Afghanistan, by making available its ground 
and Caspian naval transportation facilities. Azerbaijan was also the 
first predominantly Muslim country to send troops to Iraq.
   Azerbaijan has opened Caspian energy resources to development by 
U.S. companies and has emerged as a key player for global energy 
security. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline project is the most 
successful project contributing to the development of the South 
Caucasus region and has become the main artery delivering Caspian Sea 
hydrocarbons to the U.S. and our partners in Europe. Notably, 
Azerbaijan also provides roughly 40% of Israel's oil consumption. 
Azerbaijan is considered a leading initiator of the Trans Anatolian 
Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) which will open up the Southern Gas 
Corridor to Europe. As a co-chair of the Congressional Azerbaijan 
Caucus, I congratulate the Republic of Azerbaijan on the Republic Day. 
I believe we will continue to work with them to advance our partnership 
which benefits both the US and Azerbaijan. I look forward to further 
collaboration between our two nations.