Pentagon Chief Promises Azerbaijan Military Assistance

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has promised Azerbaijan military assistance. Speaking on Saturday at a joint news conference with his Azeri opposite number Safar Abiyev, the Pentagon head emphasised that this would become possible after the US suspends the 907th amendment to Freedom Defence Act, which bans the US government giving direct aid to Azerbaijan. According to him, it is possible that within the next few days the US Congress will decide to suspend the amendment. He also noted that he will have one more meeting with Azerbaijan's defence minister in Brussels, which will also deal with development of bilateral relations in the military sphere. The Pentagon chief said that during Saturday's negotiations with President Geidar Aliyev and the head of Azerbaijan's military establishment the sides discussed "how our countries will respond to terrorism" and ways of developing military cooperation. Abiyev, in his turn, emphasised that following the terrorist attacks in the US relations between Washington and Baku got more active. The Azeri side, he said, "at once provided its airspace for overflights by aircraft from the US and other countries of the anti-terrorist coalition". According to him, when the 907th amendment is repealed, there will be a meeting between the commissions of the US Defence Department and Azerbaijan's Defence Ministry on military cooperation, which will lay down the main guidelines for its development.

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