Centenary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan

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In 2017, Ukraine celebrated the centenary of its diplomatic service. In 2019, your country celebrates the centenary of its foreign-policy establishment. One hundred years ago we could not defend our independence. Now our countries face new geopolitical challenges. Did our people take into account century old mistakes and miscalculations?

Today, Azerbaijan develops in a difficult historical period when complex geopolitical processes take place in the world. The states face new threats and challenges of the modern world and during that difficult transition period for Azerbaijan, it was thanks to the wise policy of Azerbaijan national leader Heydar Aliyev that our independence was preserved and strengthened, the country embarked on the development path and became recognized internationally.

Developing this path the President Ilham Aliyev developed an ideology of radical reforms “based on the best traditions of the past” and Azerbaijan achieved great success in every area including foreign policy. One of the most critical factors in this path is Azerbaijan regional and global approval:

Azerbaijan President I. Aliyev revealed to the whole world the high potential of Azerbaijan in creating new geopolitical, socio-cultural and economic values ​​in combination of economic advancement with energy safety and transportation security, in formation of new formats of collaboration, creation of new modalities for civilizational dialogue, carrying out international forums on dialogue of civilizations, religions and culture, in the organization and realization of various international cultural and sports competitions.

Today it can be said with certainty that possessing a high potential Azerbaijan plays an important role as a geopolitical, economic, cultural and transit hub in the region.

Centenary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan

How was the diplomatic service of Azerbaijan developed 100 years ago? What were the main priorities of the Azerbaijan state at that time?

Azerbaijan people have a rich history of statehood. As it is known, in 2018, the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic foundation was celebrated.

In 1919, the delegation of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic participated in the Paris Peace Conference. It was formed ad hoc to protect the interests of Azerbaijan at this conference.

The delegation main task was the recognition by the peace conference in Paris of complete and absolute independence of Azerbaijan Republic as a sovereign state. The delegation’s task also included preparation of the public opinion of European and American civilized countries in the direction most conducive to the recognition of Azerbaijan independence and the establishment of commercial contacts with the business communities of these countries.

On January 11, 1920, the Supreme Council of the Allied Victorious Powers in the First World War decided to recognize the de facto independence of Azerbaijan.

During 1918-1920s the ADR brought the continuity of the purposes and objectives of Azerbaijan foreign policy into sharp focus.

In the Declaration on Independence, one of the ADR’s foreign policy priority directions was establishing friendly relations with all nations, states, and peoples of neighboring states.

The main priorities of the Azerbaijan State at that time were the development of friendly relations with neighboring states and with all the nations.

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With the ADR establishment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was created and diplomatic activity began, work with the international community and it became a background of foreign policy activity in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan diplomacy first steps fell on the 1919th year. Diplomatic missions of a series of countries began to function in Baku.

Until April 1920, diplomatic missions and Consulates General of Azerbaijan were running in Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Iran, and other countries.

Centenary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan

Can modern Azerbaijani diplomacy be considered the successor of the foreign policy establishment of independent Azerbaijan-1919, or does the Soviet legacy prevail?

Turning to the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic of 1918-1920, we plainly see that continuity in foreign policy is manifested in terms of foreign policy objectives.

At the present stage, the Republic of Azerbaijan has defined one of the fundamental purposes of its foreign policy to deepen and develop friendly relations with neighboring countries and the world community, and strengthen peace, security in the region and around the world.

However, it is worth emphasizing that the danger and threats faced by the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, particularly territorial claims from Armenia and the outbreak of war against Azerbaijan, geopolitical cataclysms and the oil factor got on the path of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which had regained its independence in 1991. History reflected the similarity of geopolitical threats.

Among the purposes and objectives in the foreign policy activities of modern Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, one can clearly see consistency and continuity.

What are the geopolitical guidelines of modern Azerbaijan?

The national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev has determined a sustainable foreign policy strategy of Azerbaijan, relying on factors such as historical experience and geopolitical realities of the region in which Azerbaijan is located.

President of our country Ilham Aliyev successfully continues a dynamic foreign policy, which is based primarily on the national interests of Azerbaijan. Taking into account the new development stage of the country, he implements new strategic goals.

The Republic of Azerbaijan foreign policy directed at preventing hazards and threats to our country from outside, eliminating the consequences of military aggression and occupation of Armenia against Azerbaijan, stopping illegal actions in our occupied territories, restoring territorial integrity and sovereignty within internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, developing good relations with neighboring countries, further strengthening the international prestige of our country, promoting security, stability, regional collaboration.

Today’s Azerbaijan success is the result of the comprehensive, concrete and targeted efforts of the past few years.

 The implementation of globally significant projects in various economic sectors including energy contributes to regional and international collaboration. Therefore the supply of Azerbaijan natural gas to European markets through the Southern Gas Corridor project, implemented under the leadership and initiative of Azerbaijan, will make a significant contribution to strengthening Europe’s energy security.

Azerbaijan also implements major projects in order to further enhance the transit potential of Azerbaijan.

The construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars road has been completed. The implementation of this project has consistently reduced the time of goods transportation from China to Europe.

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Building and construction work on the Azerbaijani section of the North-South transport corridor has been completed.

Thus, Azerbaijan turns into a key hub. Today, the priorities of our economic policy are further diversification of the economy and the oil sector.

In order to ensure the development of the information sector, the quality of services and potential of the country as an information transit corridor will continue to improve.

What place does Ukraine occupy?

Azerbaijan and Ukraine have the status of strategic partners, and this partnership is based on a successful political dialogue, significant economic potential, and historical ties between our nations.

One of the components of the strategic collaboration of Ukraine and Azerbaijan is a large economic potential.

  At the political level, Azerbaijan and Ukraine constantly support each other, considering the foreign policy challenges the countries face.

There has always been a high level of political trust between the leaders of our countries.

Centenary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan

How did the relationship between our countries evolve 100 years ago?

As you know, diplomatic relations between our countries were established in 1992 after they gained independence. But the interaction between official Baku and Kiev began much earlier. Here I would like to clarify that as early as November 1, 1918, the Ambassador of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was appointed to Ukraine. He was the Azerbaijan writer, prose writer, historian, and political person Yusif Vezir Cemenzeminli. I note that in 1910 Cemenzeminli entered the law faculty of the Imperial University of St. Vladimir in Kyiv.

So, one of the main tasks of the diplomatic mission was to familiarize the public with Azerbaijan.   With that in mind, the representative office of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in Ukraine organized thematic evenings, published articles in newspapers and magazines on history, literature, culture, commerce and the economy of Azerbaijan.

All these are pages of the history of our two states and nations, which we greatly value. As we cherish the memory of the years, when Azerbaijan and Ukraine were part of one state, called the USSR. Yes, the attitude towards that historical period in the life of our countries is being revised, but one should not forget how strongly the relations between Azerbaijan and Ukraine developed during the Soviet era.

For example, during the Second World War, when Ukraine was liberated from the fascist invaders, 20 Azerbaijanians received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. In addition, Azerbaijanians actively participated in the rectification of the consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Azerbaijan’s national leader Heydar Aliyev who in the late 80s was a Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union member played a huge role in minimizing the consequences of the terrible Chernobyl accident, providing special equipment to build a sarcophagus over the deadly 4th Chernobyl nuclear power plant, allocating additional funds for building housing for the victims and reducing supplies to the union fund. It was Heydar Aliyev who ahead of time laid the foundations of a modern international collaboration of Azerbaijan with Ukraine in the political, economic and humanitarian areas.

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Of course, the Azerbaijan-Ukraine relations received a new impetus after our countries gained independence.

Azerbaijan and Ukraine have the status of strategic partners, and this partnership relies on a successful political dialogue, considerable economic potential, as well as sympathy between the two nations. Note the fact that mutual support in global and regional organizations on the issue of territorial integrity has become an important aspect of the relationship.

What events are planned by your embassy in honor of the 100th anniversary of Azerbaijani diplomacy?

Yes, this year the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan diplomatic service is celebrated. Due to the fact of our upcoming professional day, our diplomatic mission has prepared a work plan for a number of events dedicated to our anniversary celebration.

On the initiative of the Embassy and with the support of the Trade House of Azerbaijan in Ukraine and the Sokar representative office in Ukraine there was the planting of a hundred trees in Muslim Magomayev park and in the Park of Friendship of Peoples, where will soon be a monument to the great Azerbaijan poet and thinker Imadeddin Nesimi.

At the same time, in the second half of May, in one of the most prestigious and elite places of the capital the Congress and Exhibition Center “Parkovy” we plan to hold an official reception with the participation of folk and honored artists from Azerbaijan.

In June, our Embassy together with the Kyiv Yacht Club is implementing a project called “Diplomatic Regatta” with the participation of all heads of diplomatic missions, representative offices of international organizations accredited in Ukraine, as well as well-known representatives of Ukrainian society. It is a quite big and serious project with a gala concert where famous performers from both Azerbaijan and Ukrainian sides will take part. Within the framework of this project, master classes by Azerbaijan chefs will also be demonstrated and national products made in our country will be presented.

Also, a contest called “ A friend in court is better than a penny in purse” will be held at one of the popular radio stations, where questions about Azerbaijan will be asked. In this competition, 100 liters of fuel of the Sokar gas stations will be drawn. 5 winners will be selected, each of which will become the owner of 20 liters of fuel.

Moreover, one of the most popular Ukrainian television channels is scheduled to broadcast live with me, in which viewers will be asked questions about Azerbaijan. The winner will have the opportunity to have dinner with the Ambassador, during which he will be given a voucher for a 3-day tour to Azerbaijan.

At the same time, various articles on Azerbaijan foreign policy will be published.

In the Kyiv Institute of International Relations (KIMO), as well as in the Diplomatic Academy under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, open lectures are planned for students on the foreign policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The program is really extensive and we are ready to implement it with all our strength.