Oklahoma, Azerbaijan Celebrate 20-Year Partnerships With Ambassador Visit


Friday, April 1st 2022, 5:55 pm



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The state of Oklahoma is celebrating a 20-year partnership with the country of Azerbaijan.

From boots on the ground, to the roar of black hawks over the skies of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma National Guard lent life-saving lessons to Azerbaijani solders this past week.  

“What we really focused on was ensuring that we have the same understanding of the importance of stabilizing someone as soon as possible,” Oklahoma National Guard Deputy State Surgeon Maj. Carl Beyer said.

The country of 10 million people is about a 14-hour flight from Oklahoma. The central Asian country was a part of the Soviet Union and later became an official Oklahoma state partner through a State Department program in 2002.

“We were among the last troops who left Kabul International Airport,” Azerbaijan Ambassador to the U.S. Khazar Ibrahim said. “Our cooperation with (the) Oklahoma National Guard helped us in that direction because our peacekeeping battalion is getting a lot of support.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt said he wants to take the military partnership launched two decades ago and expand it to include education and economic partnerships.

“They are investing in Oklahoma,” Stitt said. “We have companies that are here with the relationships we’ve built. They’re coming and investing in companies in Oklahoma.”

The ambassador also visited Oklahoma State University as an educational exchange program prepares to launch this fall.

“Yesterday, I was at Oklahoma State University and I met (head wrestling coach) John Smith. Coach Smith, who is one of the best wrestlers ever,” Ibrahim said.

From the battlefield and beyond, Stitt said these relationships only help raise Oklahoma's global profile.

“People to people contacts are very important,” Ibrahim said. “As the governor said, he wants to bring the world to Oklahoma and Azerbaijan wants to be part of it.”

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