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U.S. praises Azeri energy role

Oct. 30, 2008 at 4:17 PM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce John Sullivan wrapped up a two-day visit to the South Caucasus region praising Azerbaijan for its role in the energy sector.

Sullivan visited the president of the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic, Rovnag Abdullayev, in the capital, Baku, to discuss the important role SOCAR played in European and U.S. energy policies, the Azeri news service Today.Az reported.

"SOCAR has gained wide influence throughout the world," Sullivan said following the meeting.

The comments with the SOCAR president follow earlier statements Sullivan made in Baku regarding Azeri trade relations.

"(Washington) supports Azerbaijan's entrance to the World Trade Organization, but for this, the country should fulfill several obligations before the organization, including establishment of free economy and removal of bureaucracy," Sullivan said.

The International Crisis Group published a report Wednesday saying Azerbaijan needed further government transparency as the country gains geopolitical significance due to its vast oil resources.

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