Elmar Mammadyarov: “We are dissatisfied with the ineffective 20-years mediating activity of the OSCE Minsk Group” – INTERVIEW – EXCLUSIVE

Elmar Mammadyarov: “We are dissatisfied with the ineffective 20-years mediating activity of the OSCE Minsk Group” – <font color=red>INTERVIEW – EXCLUSIVE </font>
# 16 July 2012 09:47 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Victoria Dementieva – APA. The interview of Azerbaijani Miister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov to APA

- Successes of the Azerbaijani diplomacy and increase of our country’s image in the world gladden our society very much. In this respect, the cooperation of our country with the international organizations attracts special attention. In your opinion, do Azerbaijan’s cooperation with the international organizations and its specific dynamic role within these organizations indicate successful implementation of our country’s foreign policy course? How did we achieve it at short notice?

- As in the other spheres, the Republic of Azerbaijan continued its great successes on the foreign policy. As an independent country, Azerbaijan became member of the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the other international organizations, continued its active participation and efficient cooperation in the activity of worthy global and regional organizations. Our country’s place in the prestigious and worthy organizations within the next years, invitation to the important international events and being as one of the countries visited most of all by the high level foreign ministerial delegations in the region, including among the former USSR countries show that Azerbaijan’s role in the international arena increased greatly and it turned into a leader of the region.

- It is beyond doubt that the historical success of the Azerbaijani diplomacy was its election to the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2012-2013 on October 24, 2011. After 17 tours, which passed under intense competition, our country gained the confidence of the international community and won support of the UN’s 155 countries. Azerbaijan is the first country from the South Caucasus and Central Asia that became member of this organization after collapse of the USSR. Azerbaijan chaired this organization for the first time in May, 2012. As Azerbaijani President Mr. Ilham Aliyev noted, “We will first of all defend international law and justice in the Security Council”.

This victory is an indication of high achievements of Azerbaijan as a result of implementation of balanced, many-branched and purposive foreign policy and example of its increasing image both in the region and the international arena, close participation in the global processes and at the same time its contribution to the restoration of peace and tranquility.

At the same time, as a result of purposive and efficient diplomatic activity, the Republic of Azerbaijan gained support of all members of the Non-Aligned Movement in Bali city of Indonesia and was elected member of the movement in the 16th Ministerial Conference on May 26, 2011. The Republic of Azerbaijan, which became a full member of the Non-Aligned Movement, declared that it is loyal to the Movement’s principles and goals. Our country gained full support of this organization within one-year membership to the Movement.

Azerbaijan’s invitation to the Working meeting of G-20 foreign ministers held in Mexico can be assessed as the next success. It indicates the interest of developed countries of the world to Azerbaijan and our country’s leadership in the region.

Our country was also elected Vice-President of THE Intergovernmental Committee of the UNESCO on Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage and won support of the member countries by electing to the other leading posts.

The abovementioned diplomatic successes confirm once again the action force and balance of the implemented foreign policy. At the same time, the achieved results set the new tasks to us and open new opportunities from the point of view of realization of Azerbaijan’s long-term interests. One of our main tasks is to increase of country’s prestige and effect opportunities and the effective use of achieved positions and diplomatic potential.

- The world community demonstrates passive position on settlement of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. What does Azerbaijan expect from the world community in this direction?

- As you know, our country’s position on settlement of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict has strong legal bases. The international organizations reflect in their decisions and resolutions that Armenia is an occupier, supported the return of refugees and IDPs to their homes and liberation of Azerbaijan’s occupied areas. Of course, it is not enough for us, Armenia must be obliged to respect the decisions of the international organizations and the international law.

Certainly, the main and top priority task of Azerbaijani diplomacy is the settlement of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. The efforts of the Azerbaijani diplomacy led by the Head of State are directed towards it. The peace negotiations for restoration of sovereignty on Azerbaijan’s occupied areas and ensuring our territorial integrity are being continued. But we are dissatisfied with the ineffective 20-years mediating activity of the OSCE Minsk Group. The Azerbaijani lands are under occupation and about 1 mln refugees and IDPs have not returned yet to their historical native lands.

The continuation of status-quo creates situation to continue indefinite and unexpected dangerous situation in the region. Leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group’s member-states announced clearly that the existence of status-quo in the region was unacceptable. The proposal titled updated Madrid Principles, which was made by the three co-chairing countries, was presented to the sides and Azerbaijan announced that it was ready to continue negotiations, including to begin work on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Unfortunately, Armenia refused this proposal. Today, the restoration of confidence between Azerbaijan and Armenia takes a significant place in the settlement of the conflict. Many attempts must be shown to obtain it.

- The number of diplomatic representations of Azerbaijan in foreign countries is rapidly increasing. What does this process serve for?

- Currently more than 70 diplomatic representations of Azerbaijan operate in foreign countries. These representations fulfill their duties in ensuring the national interests of our country, implementation of foreign policy, development of bilateral and multilateral relations, as well as popularization of our country abroad, protection of right of Azerbaijani citizens and our compatriots living abroad.

Much work is carried out towards popularization of our country. The cultural events, various publications, exhibitions, academic meetings and other initiatives can be included here.

Beside the Azerbaijani representations, our compatriots and people loving Azerbaijan must operate together for the purpose of popularization of Azerbaijan and its introduction to the world community

- Are there changes in regional policy of Azerbaijan?

- Our country is situated in a strategic geography. Azerbaijan tries to create the relations with its neighbor countries, excluding Armenian because of definite reasons, on such principles as friendship, friendly neighborhood, mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs of the countries. Generally, it’s planned to develop foreign policy of Azerbaijan not only in multilateral, but also in bilateral directions.

Today Azerbaijan is a leading country in the region. Azerbaijan has already changed from the country that received foreign investments and became investor itself. Today Azerbaijan mostly intends to invest in the countries of the region and our projects with Turkey and Georgia indicate it. This process will have more intensive character and it gives us the right to say that the economic power will be increasing year by year.

As regards Armenia, I’d like to stress that unfortunately, Armenia continues its occupation foreign policy and isolates itself from all economic projects in the region. Armenia must withdraw its armed forces from occupied Azerbaijani lands for achieving progress in the conflict’s settlement. The non-constructive approach of Armenian administration has a negative effect not only on the future of the region, but also on this country’s own future.