Baku, Azerbaijan, May 19
Azerbaijan and the United States have always had good relations over the past 20 years, Ali Hasanov, the head of the Public and Political Issues Department of Azerbaijani Presidential Administration told Trend.
He was commenting on some of the U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Richard Morningstar's negative comments regarding democracy in Azerbaijan and the country's domestic and foreign policy, which he made in an interview with the Azadlyg radio.
"Today, the ties between the two countries are quite stable, and cooperation in various areas has reached the level of strategic partnership," Hasanov said. "The energy security, trans-national transport and communication policy and the policy of corridors, the fight against terrorism, joint participation in international peacekeeping missions and others are the important issues on the agenda of bilateral partnership relations."
Hasanov went on to say that, based on international law, Azerbaijan extensively cooperates with the entire trans-national world, including the U.S., within the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs, mutual trust, fruitful and effective cooperation with friendly and partner countries.
He stressed that Azerbaijan, as a partner, has always responsibly fulfilled its international commitments.
"Along with this, Azerbaijan is a state pursuing a policy that does not depend on anyone - it is absolutely independent," Hasanov stressed.
"Our country is distinguishable for its place and role in the system of international relations. The policy, conducted by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev for over ten years, serves to further strengthening independence, securing national interests, and improvement of our country's international image," Hasanov stressed.
"I believe it is not good when the U.S. or another big state or an international organization interferes in Azerbaijan's internal affairs or its foreign policy in any way, seeks to control it, and "teaches the people how to live". I believe these attempts will be unsuccessful," Hasanov stressed.
He went on to add that Morningstar's statements made during the interview, meet neither today's spirit of relations between Azerbaijan and the U.S., nor the requirements "on diplomatic relations" of the Vienna Convention, adopted in 1961.
"Under the convention, the foreign countries' diplomats must respect the laws and norms of public life of the country, where they work and they should not interfere in the internal and external affairs of that country," Hasanov stressed. "A diplomatic mission's main functions include supporting friendly relations between its country and the country, in which it operates, and assisting the development of social, economic, cultural and other relations between the nations. Unfortunately, these requirements have been somewhat violated in Richard Morningstar's statements."
"I believe that the biased and prejudiced comments on domestic and foreign policy of Azerbaijan, the use of impermissible rhetoric, classification of an independent country's authorities, the attempts to impose own worldview and interests of own country to another independent state, of course, cannot be regarded as an example of professional diplomacy," Ali Hasanov underscored.
He also said that most of the allegations in Morningstar's interview, remind of subjective provisions in the reports of some foreign NGOs that are under the influence of the Armenian diaspora and that have been famous for their anti-Azerbaijani position for many years.
Hasanov stressed that such parallels are thought-provoking and strongly concern Azerbaijan.
Hasanov also underscored that today various developments are taking place in different parts of the world with participation of the U.S. and the West, and the logic behind these developments is difficult to understand not only by Azerbaijan, but also by the rest of the world.
""Maidan" movement in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Ukraine and some other countries negate all the progressive principles in the system of modern international relations," Hasanov added.
"The unconstitutional change of power, forcibly carried out in independent countries, and their dire consequences, namely, violation of socio-political stability, internal confrontation and inciting a civil war, undermining the economy, boosting a social tragedy are the tragedy of these peoples, rather than democratic changes, described by the ambassador," he said.
Hasanov added that if any outside circles want re-occurrence of these events in Azerbaijan, there is no doubt that they will be disappointed," he added.
"Regarding the opinion about the lack of solidity of Azerbaijani authorities, I think that this is nothing but a subjective opinion of the ambassador," he said. "The authorities were formed proceeding from the people's will in Azerbaijan. No matter who and how considers it, a fundamental and thought-out policy for the dynamic development of the country, the protection of national interests, improvement of the population's social welfare and other directions is being conducted in the form of a unified team under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev."
Hasanov noted that Azerbaijan's domestic and foreign policy is carried out taking into account the national interests, rather than in the form corresponding to the desire of some circles.
"Azerbaijan is a country, based on its geographical and geopolitical position, national interests and peculiarities of people," he said. "It is distinguished by the policy meeting the modern world realities and its way of development. This principled, consistent and purposeful policy of the country will continue in the future."
"I believe that one can never find a correct logical inference using erroneous postulates. Firstly, contrary to the assertions of some 'human rights defenders', there is no pressure on the civil society institutions, free press and information activities in Azerbaijan," Hasanov stressed, adding that hundreds of NGOs and independent media freely function in Azerbaijan and they enjoy substantial aid allocated by the state.
He went on to say that there is unrestricted internet access in Azerbaijan, something that a lot of world countries can envy.
Speaking about some of the initiatives made by relevant government bodies in this direction and their steps to implement the legal provisions, Hasanov said this activity primarily serves to securing transparency and creating domestic discipline and order, which are considered to be the requirements of democracy.
Hasanov stressed that today in Azerbaijan, just like in any democratic society, everyone is equal before the law, regardless of his or her profession and position. He underscored that if a citizen breaks the law or commits a crime, then he or she should be ready to be responsible for this.
"Secondly, today many Western countries use restrictions on freedom of assembly from the legislative and practical points of view, and the rallies and protests are forcibly suppressed," Hasanov said.
"There are hundreds of facts showing the obstacles created for media workers, closing of publications, the activities of which do not meet the interests of state power, the arrest of journalists for defamation, surveillance, wiretapping, and monitoring of correspondence on the internet using various technical means, restricting the internet, etc."
"We do not characterize this as anti-democratic trends in these countries and we believe that presenting a few individual cases as a political line of a state is an incorrect methodology. Unfortunately, we do not see an adequate attitude towards Azerbaijan from some Western circles," Hasanov said.
He also believes that it is necessary to openly show the difference between the wish to provide a gratuitous aid to development of Azerbaijan's civil society without having any intentions, and the purposeful activities contradicting it.
"Azerbaijan closely cooperates with the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the EU and other influential international organizations and implements joint projects for a wide application of the democratic standards, better protection of human rights and freedoms, and development of civil society institutions," he underscored. "Unfortunately, some external circles attract political parties and NGOs to their side, illegally finance them, try to steer them according to their will and against our national interests," Hasanov underscored.
He stressed that the main mission of these structures, operating on the basis of specific instructions, is to attempt to tarnish Azerbaijan's international image, forming a negative opinion about the country, as well as supporting and creating grounds for an anti-Azerbaijani campaign of outer circles, which they serve.
"The Azerbaijani society has been sufficiently informed about their essence and activity," he said. "Therefore, our public has never seriously considered "reports" prepared by some outside circles on the basis of denunciations of these organizations, as well as their subjective allegations."
"The media outlets have recently disseminated numerous files on the activity of an organization called "Institute of Peace and Democracy"," Hasanov added. "It was known that millions of funds are illegally transferred to such unregistered organizations through several Western funds."
"Where are these funds directed? How are they spent? Hasanov asked. "We have no such information. The Azerbaijani laws require ensuring transparency in this area. When the appropriate organizations begin taking actions in this direction, the international defenders appear. They start to claim that Azerbaijan allegedly pressures civil society institutions. The activity of the head of the Baku office of the U.S. National Democratic Institute Alex Grigoriev in March 2013, is an example. This organization has spent big money on the formation of a radical protest group in Azerbaijan, consisting of young people, and on its illegal activity. The public authorities have not been informed about these funds in Azerbaijan and the issue remains unclear so far. Of course, the government was obliged to take decisive measures when "Molotov cocktails" were found among some young representatives of this organization."
"Afterwards, some Western circles and politicized human rights organizations under their influence, made hysterical statements," Hasanov added.
"We know such tactic of the activity, repeatedly used in various countries under the banner of civil society institutions. The radical, unbalanced mass, in particular, young people, are artificially and purposefully involved."
Hasanov said that the "maidan" movement in Ukraine is also a project of some international forces.
"They are directly responsible for the situation in the country, namely, civil confrontation, chaos, anarchy and the country's split," he added.
"If these circles want similar processes in Azerbaijan, then our task and duty is to prevent this," he said. "The Azerbaijani authorities are willing to adequately repulse any action that threatens the country's security. No hysterical statement beyond rhetoric can break the country's will."