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Apr 07

Foreign Policy Challenges of Azerbaijan

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Located in the southeastern part of the Caucasus on the shore of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan is a strategic country in economic and post-Soviet transition. It is squeezed between difficult neighbors - Russia and Iran - and boasts large oil and gas reserves. After years of Soviet domination, the leaders in Baku have turned their eyes toward the West and seek to reform their political institutions, liberalize their markets and profit from their considerable energy reserves. Such a strategy, however, is not without challenges. First and foremost, the "frozen" conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh continues to be an almost-intractable problem that is unlikely to disappear any time soon. Plus, neighbors Iran, to the south, and Russia, to the north, are forcing Azerbaijan to choose between its immediate security interests and the West's promise of development. Given these difficulties, it will take diplomatic mastery for Azerbaijan to emerge from the woods unscathed. Our distinguished speaker is in the forefront of these tangled efforts.

Elmar Maharram Mammadyarov became the Minister of Foreign Affairs on April 2, 2004. Prior to his appointment he served as Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Italy. He also held numerous high-level positions during his diplomatic career, including Head of the State Protocol Division at the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry (1991-1992), Deputy Chief of the International Organizations Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1995-1998), and Counselor of the Embassy of Azerbaijan to the United States (1998-2003). Minister Mammadyarov holds a B.A. from Kyiv State University (Ukraine), a Master's degree from Brown University, and a Ph.D. from the Diplomatic Academy of the USSR Foreign Ministry.

More About the Speakers

His Excellency Elmar Mammadyarov
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the
Republic of Azerbaijan