It is cheaper to export Turkmen and Kazakh natural gas to Europe through Azerbaijan than through Iran, said Matthew Bryza, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.
Moreover, the United States seeks to limit Iran's international economic activities because of Tehran's uranium enrichment programme, Bryza told a news conference in Baku. He also called on Azerbaijan to export its own gas to Europe. This, he argued, would force Russia to face healthy competition on the European gas market.
He also said that one of the purposes of his current visit to Baku was to discuss preparations for Azerbaijan's 2008 presidential election. He said the United States was working to build understanding between Azerbaijan's government, the opposition and the media.
He expressed anxiety that journalists are being prosecuted in Azerbaijan for publishing false information and insisted that the journalists should have fair trials and as soon as possible.