On January 14, 2013, the California State Senate officially welcomed Consul General Nasimi Aghayev.
Senator Bob Huff, the Republican Leader of the Senate, introduced the Consul General to the Senate Floor. He noted that "Azerbaijan is a strong ally of the United States and has been developing robust ties in California since the opening of the Consulate General in 2006".
Mentioning the visit to Azerbaijan of a Senate delegation in 2011, Senator Huff said: "Our delegation found a dynamic and engaged country eager to develop its economy and partner with California."
Then, the Consul General was invited to address the Senators. In his speech, the Consul General highlighted the achievements made by Azerbaijan since the restoration of its free and independent statehood in 1991. "With a $70 billion GDP, Azerbaijan now accounts for 80% of the region`s economy and was elected to the United Nations Security Council in 2011.”
Referring to the ethnic and religious tolerance in Azerbaijan, the Consul General said: "We have been able to build an inclusive society, where different religions and ethnicities, including a very vibrant Jewish community, peacefully co-exist and thrive. It is no coincidence that Azerbaijan is one of the few majority-Muslim nations enjoying very strong ties of friendship with the State of Israel." Speaking of the Azerbaijan-U.S. strategic partnership and friendship, Consul General Aghayev characterized Azerbaijan as "a crucial and reliable ally of the U.S. in the critically important Caspian region".
In conclusion, Aghayev expressed the strong desire of Azerbaijan to expand the relations with California in all fields. Consul General then also met with the President of the Senate Darrell Steinberg.
During the ceremony, Azerbaijan`s national flag was flown in the Senate Floor./AzerTAc/