Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration
William Lacy Swing noted that the Baku office of the International Organization for Migration has been operating since the late 90s and stressed the successful development of relations between Azerbaijan and the IOM. He said that the implementation of the migration policy by Azerbaijan, the legislative and institutional experience, the establishment of a center for dignified and human treatment of illegal migrants is an example for other states.

William Lacy Swing highlighted the impossibility of a XIX century model mono-ethnic composition in any country and added that the states have to reconcile with the diverse ethnic, religious and cultural composition. He added that, in this regard, Azerbaijan is best model with its affluent traditions of multiculturalism and tolerance for the entire world.

Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov informed that as a result of ethnic cleansing policy Armenia remains as a mono-ethnic state and as an outcome of its aggression against Azerbaijan more than one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs. Minister highlighted that the return of Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons to their ancestral homes is an issue of discussion within the negotiation process on the conflict settlement. Furthermore, he added that the consultations are conducted with the World Bank and other agencies in this regard.

Elmar Mammadyarov touched on the issue of illegal settlement of ethnic Armenian refugees from Syria to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia and stressed the importance of serious attention by the IOM and other international institutions on this issue. He added that under the international humanitarian law pursuing of a deliberate settlement policy and changing the demographic structure of occupied territories is prohibited.

Elmar Mammadyarov noted that during the early years of its independence owning to its favorable geographic position Azerbaijan was perceived as a transit point for the illegal migrations. However, as a result of economic and social development now Azerbaijan is also an attractive destination for illegal migration. Minister highlighted that in Azerbaijan, due to well-planned migration policy and institutional reforms migration issues effectively regulated within the law.

Elmar Mammadyarov stated that Azerbaijan attaches importance to development of its relations with the IOM and said that Azerbaijan stands ready to share its successful migration policy experience, rich traditions of multiculturalism and tolerance with other member countries.

During the meeting the sides expressed their views on recent migration problems in Europe, classification of migrants according to their religious affiliation, the mass deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and other issues of mutual interest.


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