Europe can Render Considerable Assistance in Resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Head of Centre for Strategic Studies at Azerbaijani Presidential Administration.

Europe can Render Considerable Assistance in Resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Head of Centre for Strategic Studies at Azerbaijani Presidential Administration.

Azerbaijan, Baku, 9 July /Тrend News corr S.Agayeva/ "Improvement of nation's intellectual basis will determine and form Azerbaijan's further competitiveness strategy for a new global environment," said head of Centre for Strategic Studies attached to Azerbaijani Presidential Administration.

Trend ' interview with the head of Centre for Strategic Studies attached to Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, Doctor of Political Sciences Elkhan Nuriyev:

Question: How successful in terms of Azerbaijan's positioning and informing the international community of the truth about Azerbaijan is the international conference recently held in London through the assistance of British NGO LINKS? Which issues were mostly disputed by the audience?

Answer: The London conference is a very interesting and successful project, which Azerbaijani Centre for Strategic Studies implemented jointly with British NGO LINKS and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). It is pleasant that the conference took place in the London headquarters of IISS, which is not only a respectable analytical organization, but first of all is a source of precise and objective information on international strategic issues for state figures, politicians, diplomats, scientists, servicemen, journalists and representatives of West's elite circles.

At the event, which took place at a very high level, speaking were specialists whose reports completely satisfied the participants. Members of our delegation, which included Elnur Aslanov (a department head at Azerbaijani Presidential Administration), me as the head of Centre for Strategic Studies attached to Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, Azar Amiraslanov (MP), Shahmar Movsumov (head of State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan - SOFAZ) and Tural Karimli (chairman of non-governmental Human Rights Foundation), informed our British counterparts of serious information about Azerbaijan in the format required for national interests. We answered all questions of our counterparts - from Azerbaijan's geostrategic role in Europe's energy security to possible economic, political and foreign political challenges which our countries are facing.

There were many positive controversies in all four sessions of the conference. The issues of current importance on contemporary geo-policy of Azerbaijan and its geo-strategic significance in South Caucasus, Caspian Sea reservoir and Black Sea region provoked the interest of the audience.

At the same time, the focus of our discussions was the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and important issues such as comprehensive foreign policy of the country, its further democratization and consolidation of the civil society. In brief, high level intellectual dialogue between Azerbaijani and European specialist were held in London.

Question: It is common knowledge that today Azerbaijan is considered to be one of the key players in providing energy security of Europe. What role does Azerbaijan play in diversification of energy supplies to EU?

Answer: The interest to the energy potential and energy strategy of Azerbaijan is growing by every day in the modern world and the London conference proved it once again. Lord Dubbs, one of the senior members of the Chamber of Lords of the Great Britain, Richard Marriott, official representative of Business and Entrepreneurship Department of the Great Britain and Mehmet Ogutcu, senior specialist of British Gaz. transnational company took part in the discussions. In their speeches the British experts stressed the fact that Azerbaijan has not only big geo-political significance in South Caucasus and Caspian Sea, but also big geo-economic significance for the European Union and energy security of Europe as a whole. It was noted during the conference that the transnational pipeline projects Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum have played vital role in strengthening of Azerbaijan's position in the regional scene and turned the country into the leading state of South Caucasus. According to the British analysts, Azerbaijan is not only lobbying and realizing large projects of geo-political significance, but also creates favorable investment climate in the region.

Discussions regarding rapid reforming of the economic system of Azerbaijan were of great interest. Outstanding European economists, particularly Nicholas Redman, head of the Research Center and Economist Intelligence Unit magazine, Paul Henri Forestier, a leading expert of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Emre Timurkan, senior specialist of the international company Citigroup, spoke in London about successful policy of economic reforms, diversification and realization of Azerbaijan's stable potential in the non-oil and gas sector. They noted the rapid economic development of Azerbaijan and broad strategic outlook of the Government on the economic upgrade of the country.

Question: One of the issues discussed at the conference was the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. What assistant could Europe render in the settlement of this lingering conflict?

Answer: The solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute is in focus of the broad discussions at the fourth session, dedicated to Azerbaijan's foreign policy and Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and held under the chairmanship of Oksana Antonenko, the Program Director for Russia and Eurasia of the International Institute of Strategic Studies. Following my detailed report, other speakers to the forum were Dennis Sammut, the Executive Secretary of LINKS, Simon Lunn, former Secretary General of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Roy Allison, Professor of London school of economic and political sciences.

In my speech I spoke in detail of the foreign policy of our country and touched upon looking for possible ways of the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The fact that Azerbaijan pursues balanced, pragmatic and comprehensive foreign policy was special focus of attention. 

It was noted that the top priority of the comprehensive foreign policy of our country is the creating large opportunities which provide ground for every party to put forward their initiatives. Therefore, Azerbaijan develops friendly relations with Russia, Turkey, Iran, US, EU and it has an active position in the hangeable architecture of the world order in order to provide stable and secure development of the state. On their part, the British experts highly appreciated the success of the Azerbaijani foreign policy achieved as a result of the balanced policy. According to the European analysts, Azerbaijan is playing its independent play based on the protection of the national interests of the country.

As to the discussion of the conflict, it was noted that Azerbaijan is striving to solve it by peaceful means, however, it has right to use force at any time to liberate its occupied lands. Azerbaijan's position was supported and moreover, British specialists sharply criticized the inactivity of OSCE Minsk Group. According to experts, the OSCE Minsk Group chairmen could not reach considerable results in the resolution of the Armenian and Azerbaijani conflict for many years because of the lack of healthy pragmatism in their mediation. The specialist who assembled in London concluded that the OSCE Minsk Group chairmen should make their mediation efforts more active and take a firm position concerning destructive forces trying to bring the negotiation into the deadlock.

I think Europe can render an essential assistance in the resolution of the conflict. The Armenian -Azerbaijani conflict is a serious challenge not only for Azerbaijan, but also the entire region. Delay in the resolution of the conflict hinders the development and deepening of large-scale cooperation in the regional context.

The international organizations and big powers do not recognize the 'independence' of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and it shows that the international community supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. The European political experts understand very well that the lack of considerable progress in the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict is an alarming and destabilizing factor which affects the security of Europe.

"Therefore, Europe is interested in the settlement of the protracted confrontation as soon as possible. Much will depend on the success of the EU bodies' multilateral cooperation with OSCE and Council of Europe to create new opportunities in order to develop constructive dialogue which can lead to the fair and comprehensive settlement of the conflict.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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