Azerbaijan has completed its two-year term on the UN Security Council (UNSC). What is the country's legacy in promoting increased international cooperation?
As declared by President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan's priorities at the UNSC were to promote the ideals of justice and the supremacy of international law enshrined in the UN Charter. Guided by this vision, Azerbaijan, by virtue of its experience and potential, worked hard during its tenure to make a unique contribution to global peace and security. With a firm belief in goodwill diplomacy, we started, first and foremost, to build constructive dialogue within the UNSC. Azerbaijan has demonstrated that non-permanent members of the UNSC can make a difference, affect outcomes, and contribute constructively to consensus building, while bringing diverse and unique perspectives based on their regional knowledge and experience. This is especially apparent, as Azerbaijan has held the Presidency twice. The central theme of Azerbaijan's first Presidency, in May 2012, was “threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: strengthening international cooperation in the implementation of counterterrorism obligations." This topic was discussed at the high-level thematic meeting of the Security Council, held on May 4, 2012 under the Chairmanship of President Ilham Aliyev. During Azerbaijan's second Presidency, the UNSC convened on the theme of “strengthening partnership synergy between the UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)," the first ever meeting of the Council on this subject. The purpose of the meeting was to review the current state of cooperation between the UN and the OIC, as the second largest intergovernmental organization, in the maintenance of international peace and security, while exploring ideas, measures, and joint actions for strengthening the partnership synergy between the two organizations. Azerbaijan's Presidency at the UNSC also featured intense discussions on African issues, consultations with the African Union, and the visit of an official UNSC mission to Africa, as well as the adoption of a number of resolutions and presidential statements. Also, under Azerbaijan's chairmanship, the presidential statement adopted by the Council provided a solid basis and support for addressing the humanitarian consequences of the Syrian crisis. During its membership of the UNSC, Azerbaijan has demonstrated its principled position of respect for international law and justice on all issues on the Security Council agenda. As such, Azerbaijan has placed particular emphasis on the situation in the Middle East, African issues, and working methods and reform of the Security Council. Throughout this period, the Republic of Azerbaijan has proven to be a reliable partner determined to further strengthen its cooperation with the international community, including members of the UN, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society. I can also add that UNSC membership has opened a new page in Azerbaijan's foreign policy. While on the UNSC, Azerbaijan's diplomats gained great experience that will help to promote our cause further in the global arena.
How do you reflect Azerbaijan's increased importance for the energy security of Europe?
As stressed by President Ilham Aliyev at the Shah Deniz II project final investment decision signing ceremony on December 17, 2013, this project will change the energy map of the region and Europe. High-level attendance from participating countries at the ceremony, including the EU and the UK, once again demonstrated the willingness and determination to move this project forward. Since the introduction of the concept of the Southern Gas Corridor, Azerbaijan has continuously demonstrated its political will to contribute to the implementation of this project. The birth of the Trans-Anatolia Pipeline (TANAP), as a strategic midstream component of the Southern Gas Corridor, testifies to our dedication. It was followed by a decision by the Shah Deniz consortium to select the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as a delivery route. Shah Deniz II, TANAP, and TAP are among the world's largest energy projects. The project will involve an investment of $45 billion, and more than 30,000 new jobs will be created in the countries along the route. In the first phase of this project, it is expected to deliver 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Azerbaijan's natural gas, but in the subsequent phases the figure could exceed 20 bcm. This means that Azerbaijan is making its contribution to the energy security of Europe not only through diversified routes of supply, but also by enabling diversified sources of those supplies. Azerbaijan's energy policy has been developed based on the principles of mutually beneficial cooperation, commercial viability, matching the interests of consumers and producers, transparency, reliability, and sustainability. Proceeding from this logic, we are convinced that the TAP project, through our joint efforts, will add considerable value for Europe's energy supply and its diversification. By combining the interests of producer, transit, and consumer countries, it will contribute to further economic development across the board and enhance mutual cooperation and friendship.
At what stage is the resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict?
The ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan continues to represent a serious threat and challenge to international and regional peace and security, and hinders the materialization of sustainable regional development at full capacity in the South Caucasus. The conflict has resulted in the occupation of almost 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan and has created over 1 million internally displaced persons and refugees. The war has led to the deaths and injury of thousands of people, including women, the elderly, and children. Not a single Azerbaijani historic or cultural monument, including sites of Islamic heritage, has remained undamaged, and no sacred site escaped desecration in the occupied territories and in Armenia. Our view on the solution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is unequivocal and is based on the fundamental principles of international law, four resolutions of the UNSC, and documents and resolutions from other international organizations. We sincerely believe that there is no alternative to peace, stability, and mutually beneficial regional cooperation. Without prejudice to its rights under the UN Charter, in particular those set forth in Article 51, Azerbaijan has embarked on, and remains committed to, the conflict settlement process, confident in its objective to put an end to illegal Armenian occupation, restore the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, ensure the return of forcibly displaced people to their homes, and guarantee the peaceful coexistence of Armenian and Azerbaijani communities in the Nagorno- Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. We firmly believe that eliminating the military consequences of the Armenian occupation, along with the launch of confidence-building measures, is the proper route to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. But, on the contrary, attempts by the Armenian side to misinterpret the norms and principles of international law and its insistence on unrealistic annexationist claims, which Azerbaijan will never accept, represent an open challenge to the conflict settlement process and could greatly jeopardize the negotiation process. The Armenian leadership has to understand that demonstrating a constructive approach and denouncing its annexationist policy toward its neighbor will change security perceptions in the region, positively affect the peace negotiations process, and be beneficial to all players, internal and external.
Mənbə: The Business Year