INTERVIEW WITH NAZIM IBRAHIMOV, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE COMMITTEE ON AZERBAIJANIS LIVING ABROAD
Question: When will the second congress of the world Azerbaijanis be held?
Answer: The First congress of the world Azerbaijanis, that was held in November 2001, determined major obligations and strategy of the activities of the Azerbaijani Diaspora. We continue the work on the base of a concept developed by national leader Heydar Aliyev, which defined the work with Diaspora in the first congress. The State Committee on Azerbaijanis Living Abroad was established at the PresidentвЂ™s decree and the law вЂ�On state policy related to the Azerbaijanis living abroadвЂ™ was adopted after the congress.
The Azerbaijani Diaspora is under formation and actually evolved a serious necessity for the next congress in this regard. The forum of the heads of the organizations, comprising the Azerbaijani Diaspora, more probably to be held in Baku in 2005, will open a new page in the history of the Diaspora.
The ties among the Azerbaijani communities were not in such high level during the first congress, while some problems were left unsettled. Now many issues have been settled and considerable work has been done for the making the Azerbaijani Diaspora an organized force. I hope the Forum will promote the beginning of a new stage in the development of Diaspora activities and determine new tasks of the Diaspora.
Question: What plans did the State Committee in regard to the Diaspora after your report on the results of three-year activities of the organization?
Answer: The formation of a Diaspora is an endless process and every day sees news in this sphere. Within a short 3-year period of establishment of the State Committee, some important events and many researches into our compatriotsвЂ™ problems were carried out, while proposals on the resolution of existing problems were developed.
Besides, preparations for the Baku forum are underway. Everyday we receive letters from Azerbaijanis abroad and process them. Many representatives of the Diaspora organizations visited Baku. We jointly discuss their problems. Every day there rise new ideas, that we analyze and respectively make relevant conclusions.
Question: Is there a probability for deportation of Azerbaijanis, residing in Georgia, in case of aggravation of their problems. Which steps the State Committee takes for the resolution of the AzerbaijanisвЂ™ problems in Georgia and are the issues put forward at the Georgian government?
Answer: Problems of Azerbaijanis residing in Georgia always concerned us. Unfortunately, today people who came from Georgia and inform the media on the state of Azerbaijanis in that country serve to absolutely different interests. They hide the essence of the problem from public, basing on different details, even without any attempt of depicting the real situation, as the resolution of AzerbaijanisвЂ™ problems in Georgia are out of their interests.
I guess, the problems of Azerbaijanis residing in Georgia are quite serious and require urgent decisive measures. Recently, some employees of the State Committee were dispatched to Georgia. They toured the regions densely populated with Azerbaijanis and got familiar with their problems. A special inquiry was designed on the base of observations and sent to the Cabinet of Ministers. Besides, the State Committee developed a packet of proposals for the resolution of our compatriotsвЂ™ problems.
The problems of Azerbaijanis are quite many-sided. Part of the problems is linked with the socio-economic rules and it should be accepted as natural. However, there are problems which evolve under the influence of absolutely different factors.
Azerbaijanis faced with unfair treatment while distribution of lands, existence of serious insufficiencies in education and their representation in the government and law-enforcement system. It all actually causes dissatisfaction and makes an impression of national discrimination by the Georgian authorities.
We hope the Georgian authorities will take into consideration the issue and resolve our compatriotsвЂ™ problems in the complex. Now the Georgian parliament is involved in discussion of a draft law on privatization of lands, which would remove unfairness in their distribution.
The education system in the Azerbaijani schools existing in Georgia does not meet the minimal requirements. A problem with insufficiency in specialists and text-book are still to be resolved. In accordance with the new law on education the education is in Georgian and it actually evolve problems for those who donвЂ™t know it. Besides, lack of Georgian skills restricts the representation of Azerbaijanis in the government bodies.
So, these many-sided problems are awaiting their resolution. The proposals that we developed target namely this purpose.
Question: Are there plans of a visit to Georgia and organization of a conference in Baku?
Answer: The visit and conference were postponed due to some technical problems. The event will be staged after the resolution of technical issues. We will announce about it through the media.
Question: Sometimes, there appear reports on existence of contradictions among the Diaspora organizations in Russia. Does Azerbaijan attach importance to the consolidation of unity of the Azerbaijani communities in Russia and other countries?
Answer: The State Committee has never applied a principle of selection towards the Diaspora organizations. We defend AzerbaijanвЂ™s interests, inform the world community about the truth on the Azerbaijani tragedy and closely cooperate with the communities.
As to contradictions among the Diaspora organizations, I donвЂ™t think them to be of acute character. There is a rivalry among the organization for the representation of AzerbaijanвЂ™s interests and it is, anyway, very good. Such trends give additional intensives to positive results.
Indeed, not all organizations establish the relationships on the base of healthy rivalry. The emotion takes lead there, while envy prevails over national feeling. It would not be right to refer it on all organizations.
The Diaspora is under formation and definite period is required to unite it with in a single strategic force. All diasporas had to pass this period. However, the State Committee wants the relationships among organizations to be based on the healthy cooperation.
Most depends on the unity and solidarity of the Diaspora organizations, which should target the propaganda of Azerbaijan in the world and informing the world community of the Azerbaijani truth. After several years our compatriots will become a monolith force defending the national interests.
Question: The parliamentary elections are nearing. As far as I know, the Azerbaijani citizens living abroad can participate in the voting only through arriving in the country. What steps is the State Committee going to take to ensure their participation in the elections?
Answer: Every citizen independently takes a decision on the participation in the elections. Hundreds of Azerbaijani citizens live abroad. It is almost impossible to attract them to elections process and there does not exist even an appropriate legal basis. The Constitution of Azerbaijan grants the citizens a right of moving. From this aspect, the participation in the voting isnвЂ™t obligatory.