The Asian: Multiculturalism is a state policy for Azerbaijan

Korea-based The Asian newspaper has published an article headlined "Multiculturalism is a state policy for Azerbaijan".

Based on the interview of the Azerbajani Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Ramzi Teymurov, the article highlights the 25th anniversary of the restoration of state independence of the country.

"It is a truly remarkable day for the people of Azerbaijan since we are celebrating 25 years Anniversary of the historical date – October 18, 1991, when the Republic of Azerbaijan, the successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, regained its state independence.

Azerbaijan gained its independence twice over the course of one century. The first Republic lasted less than two years at the beginning of the last century, but despite such a short period of time, the experience of the first democratic state in the whole of the Muslim East was paramount historical significance. The act establishing the State independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which completed its passage on October 18, 1991, set out the foundations for the statehood of an independent Azerbaijan and determined the principles of its political and economic structure," Ramzi Teymurov said.

"Gaining independence and transition from the Soviet Union to independent country was not smooth. Before the declaration of independence, we already faced with many tragedies such as Black January and aggression of neighboring Armenia and terror attacks that caused the life of thousands of Azerbaijani people. Therefore the early years of independence were followed by many challenges both political and economical and definitely with foreign generated threats to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of new Republic.

The Armenian occupation and civil war were shaking up the foundations of Azerbaijan.Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and its consequences were the major challenge for the young Democratic Republic. As a result of occupation, Azerbaijan lost control over its 20 % percent of territories including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other adjacent regions. As a result of Armenia's policy of ethnic cleansing against the Azerbaijanis, more than a million people have become refugees and IDPs.”

“But, thanks to the determination, courage and outlook policies of National Leader Heydar Aliyev, who lead the country since 1993 till 2003, Azerbaijan, managed to get out of that difficult situation and embark on a path of sustainable development. By utilizing his full political knowledge and experience, and having public support behind him, Heydar Aliyev gained political stability in the country by removing political chaos in the Government and neutralizing destructive forces in different regions of the country. During his Presidency ceasefire was achieved in Armenia – Azerbaijan conflict, on May 1994, and Heydar Aliyev started to inform realities of Azerbaijan, especially the fair position of Azerbaijan on Armenia- Azerbaijan conflict to the international community.”

“Azerbaijan started to realize its geopolitical resources and first oil contract titled "Contract of the century" was signed on September 1994. The "contract of century" is a bright reflection of implementation of oil strategy prepared by Heydar Aliyev which is the main ground of economic development of independent Azerbaijan. Participation of Azerbaijan in mega international projects, restoration of great Silk Road, the passage of transport corridors from Azerbaijani territory are a result of the implementation of oil strategy established by Heydar Aliyev.”

“The national development strategy of Azerbaijan which launched by Heydar Aliyev is successfully continued by H.E. Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan and today, Azerbaijan is a politically stabilized state with a dynamic economy and strong foundations, and the role of Azerbaijan in the region has significantly been strengthened.”

“Under the leadership of Ilham Aliyev, the economic development of Azerbaijan has been very rapid. I should mention that Azerbaijan has become one of the key countries of the region in political and economic respects.

Mega energy projects, such as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipelines, the development of the Caspian field of Shah Deniz, as well as the TAP and TANAP projects, have significantly changed not only the economic, but also the geopolitical situation in the region. Projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and the North-South transport corridor, as well as establishment of new Baku International Sea Trade Port will further enhance Azerbaijan's role as an international transit hub," Ambassador Teymurov added.

"Azerbaijan is also a respected member and reliable partner of the international community. To give an example, in a very short period of independence, Azerbaijan managed to be elected to the United Nations Security Council which is the highest international body with the support of 155 countries."

"However, I should mention that there are still some obstacles that impede the more vigorous and speedier development of our country. One and the biggest one of those obstacles is the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and its grave consequences on the comprehensive development of Azerbaijan and the whole region. As I mentioned, Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other adjacent regions of Azerbaijan have been under Armenian occupation for more than 20 years. Four United Nations Security Council resolutions, OSCE, CoE and other international organization's decisions urge unconditional withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories. Unfortunately, Armenia keeps ignoring them and the conflict remains unresolved. Azerbaijan's position of adherence to a lasting peaceful solution remains unchanged. We demand that the conflict is solved in compliance with norms and principles of international law, which bring us to upholding territorial integrity and inviolability of frontiers," the ambassador says.

"Within the period of 25 years, Azerbaijan managed to present itself as a country of stability and multicultural society with its independent foreign policy, and as a country of significant international partner contributing to regional development and security. Multiculturalism is a state policy for Azerbaijan as it has been not only geographical, but also cultural bridge between East and West as a territory where religions, cultures and civilizations were strongly integrated."

Recalling Pope Francis' recent visit to Azerbaijan Mr. Teymurov says: "Pope Francis made a historic visit to Azerbaijan and sent very open messages to the world from Baku. He highly valued the state of multiculturalism in Azerbaijan which is a wonderful manifestation of the assessment of Azerbaijan's contribution in that field, by the head of world Catholics."

"Against the backdrop of such an international panorama, Azerbaijan is developing successfully. We host prestigious international events. The Fifth Baku International Humanitarian Forum has recently been completed. More than 400 well-known figures from nearly 80 countries gathered to discuss the important topics of our time, building bridges between countries, cultures, and communities. This year Azerbaijan also hosted Seventh Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. The fact that this forum was held in Azerbaijan was a great assessment of the international community for the work we have carried out in this area.

We have held major sporting events in Azerbaijan. This year Azerbaijan hosted the Formula-1 competition with an audience of 500 million people, and World Chess Olympiad, which was organized at the best level. Last year Baku also successfully hosted First ever European Games, and in 2017 we will host Islamic Solidarity Games."

"The Republic of Azerbaijan conducts active foreign policy as it has established bilateral ties with a number of countries based on equal and mutual cooperation principles. Among other countries the Republic of Korea possesses a great importance for Azerbaijan and accordingly, today the two countries enjoy close and cordial relations. For a short period of time, bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Korea have been established at the highest level powered by the mutual visits of Presidents of both countries and followed by visits of the Prime Ministers of Korea, heads of legislative bodies of both countries and a number of other high level official visits. The exchange of visits have created a rich environment for political and economic dialogue between the two countries."

"Economic relations between the two countries are active in varied fields such as transport, information and telecommunications, alternative energy, know-how, environment and construction. Since 2006, trade turnover between two countries started significantly increasing. As of today, numbers of projects in Azerbaijan are being implemented by Korean companies. Along with Korean companies, offices of the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) are operating in Baku.

Nowadays, Azerbaijan looks forward to having more Korean investments, mainly to the industrial, pharmaceutical, agricultural, IT, chemical industry and tourism sectors, given the fact that under the leadership of Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the government adopts important decisions to create more favorable conditions for FDI. Besides, Azerbaijan`s important geographical location and recent transportation projects that mentioned above makes the country more attractive for foreign investors,"ambassador Teymurov says.

Shahin Jafarov
Special Correspondent

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