Azerbaijani FM Elmar Mammadyarov speaks about new tasks of country's diplomacy

July 9 is a professional holiday for employees of diplomatic service bodies.

News.Az presents the extracts from the congratulatory speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov.

"Azerbaijan with its thousands of years of statehood, has a rich history of diplomacy. Balanced diplomacy of the ruler of the Caucasian Albania Javanshir in a complex geopolitical situation, the diplomatic activities of Atabays, Shirvanshahs, Garagoyunlu have formed the unforgettable and glorious pages of the history of our diplomacy.
In general, the strategic position of Azerbaijan on the historical Silk Road conditioned the fact that it was one of the main subjects of international relations, diplomatic and trade ties of the time. Under Uzun Hasan Aggoyunlu, the role of Azerbaijan in the relations between East and West increased even more. In addition to the eastern countries with which Azerbaijan maintained traditional ties, it also managed to establish broad diplomatic relations with European states. An important role in the negotiations with foreign countries was played by the mother of Uzun Hasan - Sarah Khatun, the only woman diplomat in the whole East.

"Although the epoch of the khanates was accompanied by political disunity, the Khanates in the territory of Azerbaijan maintained ties and conducted diplomatic negotiations with neighboring and distant states based on their interests.

"Annexation of Azerbaijan by Tsarist Russia at the beginning of the XIX century deprived Azerbaijan of free diplomatic activity.

"With the formation of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic on May 28, 1918, our country once again independently joined the system of international relations. In 1919, when Azerbaijani diplomacy took its first steps, diplomatic missions of 16 foreign countries, including the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Iran, Poland and Ukraine functioned in Baku.

"Until April 1920, Azerbaijan had diplomatic missions and general consulates in Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Turkey, Ukraine and other countries. After de facto recognition of the independence of the Democratic Republic at the Paris Peace Conference on 11 January of the same year, the Government of Azerbaijan prepared a bill on the establishment of diplomatic missions in Western Europe and America.

"Following the occupation of Azerbaijan by Bolshevik Russia on December 30, 1922, the first All-Union Congress of Soviets in Moscow signed an agreement on the creation of the USSR, and Azerbaijan's independent foreign policy activity was completely discontinued. On October 8, 1923, by order of the Council of People's Commissars of the Azerbaijani SSR, all diplomatic missions functioning in Azerbaijan, except for the representative offices of Turkey and Iran, were abolished.

"Only towards the end of the Second World War - in 1944, the Soviet government, guided by its broad strategic interests, created the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs in the Azerbaijani SSR along with other republics. However, this body existed only formally for many years.

"Azerbaijan, which regained its independence in the 20th century as a result of the collapse of the USSR, began to define foreign policy as an important attribute of sovereignty.

"After the return of the national leader Heydar Aliyev to power at the urgent request of the Azerbaijani people in that difficult period, the process of building national statehood, carried out in all spheres, also covered the system of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Considering the historical heritage and peculiarities of our geopolitical situation, the great leader with his strategic vision, foresight and deep thinking formed a multi-vector and balanced foreign policy strategy.

"Today, based on Heydar Aliyev’s legacy, President Ilham Aliyev successfully continues a multi-vector and dynamic foreign policy resting upon Azerbaijan's national interests, and, in accordance with the new stage of development of our country, challenges and demands of the time, sets new strategic goals and achieves them.
Constantly keeping the diplomatic activity in the center of attention, the head of state simultaneously shows special care for this sphere. Therefore, it is no coincidence that, on the basis of the date of adoption of the interim instruction on the Secretariat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic on July 9, 1919, President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on August 24, 2007 to mark July 9 as a day of a professional holiday for employees of the diplomatic service of the Azerbaijani Republic.

"Delivering a meaningful and extensive speech at the official reception on the occasion of May 28 - Republic Day this year, President Ilham Aliyev touched  upon such crucial issues for our people as the formation of the first democratic republic in the Muslim world - the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and its fall as a result of external Interference, the re-establishment of independence by Azerbaijan with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the return of the national to power leader Heydar Aliyev at the people’s request and characterized our external police as follows:

"Azerbaijan has made great strides in the foreign policy sphere. We will continue to defend our national interests in the international arena. Today we are known in the world as a highly respected country. The number of countries wishing to cooperate with us is growing. We have no problems in a bilateral format with any country, except Armenia. We put forward a number of trilateral formats of cooperation. "

"Based on this foreign policy resting on national interests, Azerbaijan was able to form an atmosphere of good-neighborliness, mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership in the region and beyond. Not joining any military and political blocs, Azerbaijan has created an atmosphere of "soft" security through this goodwill policy, acting as a "consumer" of security at the expense of outside forces, and "producer" by its own forces and a guarantor of security in the region. Azerbaijan is perceived as a worthy and reliable partner.

"The expanding cooperation of our country with the countries of Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia, and mutual visits are a clear indicator of the growing number of countries wishing to partner with Azerbaijan.

"In the words of political theorist Joseph Nye, the policy pursued by Azerbaijan could be called Smart Power. But Azerbaijan's implementation of an independent foreign policy based on national interests in such a complicated region and chaotic world order, where political, economic, military crises are raging, and its ability to ensure its security would rather be called an Intelligent Power for its essence and lexical viewpoint.

"Taking into account our historical heritage, threats and challenges of the modern system of international relations, the head of state set new tasks and assignments before our foreign policy that can be classified as follows:

- Settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with the norms and principles of international law, UN Security Council resolutions within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan on the basis of its territorial integrity and sovereignty;

- Taking into account the absence of internal sources of risk in Azerbaijan and the formation of the main threats outside our country, protection of our country from external risks and ensuring its security through proper policies and necessary measures;

- Non-interference in the internal affairs of states and support for interstate relations that deny external interference;

- Avoiding international actions and initiatives that do not meet the national interests of Azerbaijan and the interests of the people, and the continuation of policies based on national interests;

- Expansion of successful cooperation of Azerbaijan with international organizations and boosting our multilateral diplomacy;

- Remaining adherent to our national-spiritual and religious values, proceeding from the rich experience formed over centuries - the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue and multiculturalism;

- Increasing the competitiveness of the national economy, expanding exports and gaining access to new markets amid the global financial and economic crisis and falling oil prices;

- Completion of the construction of TANAP and TAP projects in accordance with the schedule and the launch of the Southern Gas Corridor;

- Completion of works on the East-West and North-South transport corridors."

The foreign minister also notes the following successes that have been achieved by the foreign policy of Azerbaijan:

"- The entire international community, with the exception of Armenia, recognizes, supports and respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders. This position is enshrined in the well-known resolutions of the UN Security Council, resolutions of the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Council of Europe, NATO, the Non-Aligned Movement and other international organizations, as well as the statements and double documents of other states on a bilateral basis;

- Attempts by Armenia to transfer the military occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan to the political plane and even legitimize the occupation under the pretext of self-determination have failed. The international community has not recognized and will never recognize the results of Armenia's military occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan with the use of force. On the contrary, the well-known resolutions of the UN Security Council, resolutions and declarations of OIC and documents of other international structures condemn the occupation of Azerbaijani territories and forceful change of recognized borders of states;

- The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and the entire international community consider the current status quo based on the occupation to be unacceptable and unsustainable and are seriously calling for its change. The change in the status quo, first of all, provides for the elimination of the fact of occupation;

- The political and legal basis for a phased settlement of the conflict, which is known throughout the international community, has been formed. Based on the norms and principles of international law, the well-known UN Security Council resolutions, the Helsinki Final Act, this provides for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, ensuring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders, the return of Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons including the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, to their native lands and the coexistence of the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno- Karabakh within the Azerbaijani boundaries in a form of autonomy;

- Armenia has come to a deadlock in the negotiation process. Armenia has no other way but to withdraw its troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories. Therefore, when making military and political provocations, Armenia tries to divert attention from the main goal and to obstruct negotiations, in an effort to direct it to technical issues;

- The temporary and tactical occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia, which caused geopolitical and geo-economic isolation and strategic defeat of Armenia, removed it from regional projects and depleted its political, military, economic, social and demographic resources. In addition, Armenia seriously questioned its existence as a sovereign state;

- Illegal acts carried out by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan are suppressed by political and legal means, such actions of Armenia are exposed at the international level. Thanks to mechanism of national and international legal prosecution, significant progress has been made in this area;

- As a result of the exposure of Armenia's policy of aggression, occupation and ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijan, as well as the terror carried out at the state level in the occupied territories against the civilian population of Azerbaijan, the war crimes and criminal acts against humanity, Armenian lies were exposed and moral foundations and the image of Armenia as a state have been profoundly shaken. A clear opinion was formed among international public about the occupation policy of Armenia and the Armenian lies. As a result of the provocation committed in the village of Alkhanli, Armenia once again exposed itself," the foreign minister said.

"Based on the successes achieved in these areas and in accordance with the tasks set by the head of state for the settlement of the conflict, consistent and proactive steps will continue to eliminate the consequences of the Armenian occupation and ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country within its internationally recognized borders."

The foreign minister assured that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to make every effort to justify President Ilham Aliyev's trust and perform the tasks set for our foreign policy with dignity.

"I congratulate the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 9 – the international holiday of employees of the diplomatic service bodies!"


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