Core objective of Azerbaijan`s foreign policy is to ensure the county`s national interests
Q: Mr. Gurbanly, Baku has hosted the 86th Rose-Roth seminar of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO. Azerbaijan officially proposed excluding the Armenian delegation from the organization. What do you think of it?
A: Certainly Azerbaijan rightly demanded the exclusion of Armenia from the organization. This has very strong arguments. Armenia continues to occupy 20% of Azerbaijan`s lands, and this resulted in the emergence of over a million Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs. The Armenian armed forces destructed material, cultural, historical and religious monuments as well as the entire infrastructure in the occupied lands. And this is of course a gross violation of the international law. So the cooperation of Armenia, which is a terrorist state, with NATO is unacceptable. NATO PA and OSCE have punished several countries for violating the international legal norms. But for some reasons they remain silent when it comes to Armenia. So Azerbaijan`s proposal is just. I believe such an authoritative organization as NATO PA will make an objective decision.
Azerbaijan wants the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to be solved peacefully. But Armenia continues to take unconstructive position and do not give up its stalling tactics impeding the efforts to find a solution to the problem.
We welcome the initiative of the OSCE Minsk Group to organize another meeting of the two presidents. But our position is that these meetings should produce tangible results. As far as the activities of the Minsk Group are concerned, Azerbaijan is not satisfied with their work and criticizes it.
Q: We would like you to highlight the success of Azerbaijan`s foreign policy. What are the advantages of the balanced foreign policy?
A: Azerbaijan is pursuing a pragmatic, flexible and offensive diplomacy. And the objectives and goals of our foreign policy, which was set by national leader Heydar Aliyev are clear. The foreign policy pursued by President Ilham Aliyev is certainly yielding fruits. The core principle of this foreign policy is ensuring the national interests of Azerbaijan. so Azerbaijan attaches particular importance to its relations with both Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.
This is of critical importance. This flexibility in our foreign policy brings the country large dividends. Azerbaijan maintains economic cooperation with 150 countries. The country is closely cooperating with leading international organizations, and is recognized as a reliable partner in the world.
Q: President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso has visited Azerbaijan. What is the importance of the visit in terms of Azerbaijan-EU relations?
A: Relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union are developing dynamically. The European Union maintains cooperation with the South Caucasus countries, including Azerbaijan , as part of Eastern Partnership initiative and Good Neighborhood program. Azerbaijan is an active member of the EURONEST. President Ilham Aliyev puts special stress on the country`s relationship with the European Union. We believe that the visit of President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso to Azerbaijan will play an immense role in the development of the bilateral ties.
Azerbaijan today maintains economic relations with 150 countries. The leader in the South Caucasus, Azerbaijan is the initiator and participant of large-scale regional projects. It is the leading country in the North-South and East-West transport corridor. Azerbaijan has very good political and economic relations with the European Union. Our country is also one of the major contributors to ensuring Europe`s energy security.
During the visit serious views were voiced related to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We think that the European Union can play a very important role in the settlement of the dispute.
Q: The President of the European Commission said very good words about Azerbaijan during the visit. However, some circles groundlessly criticize human rights and democratic situation in the country, what can you say of this?
A: Ensuring human rights and freedoms and democracy is one of the core priorities of the Azerbaijani government. The government has made considerable achievements in ensuring the development of democracy and protection of human rights and freedoms.
This is also confirmed by international organizations. We are cooperating with leading international organizations on this front. Azerbaijan is a free and democratic state, and all rights and freedoms are stipulated in the country`s constitution. Azerbaijan fully ensured internet freedom, freedom of assembly, and all human rights and freedoms. Unfortunately, some circles are groundlessly criticize the situation with human rights and freedoms in the country. The reason is that they do not want to see Azerbaijan develop and envy its achievements.