Azerbaijan, Baku, July 22 / Trend , U.Sadikhova/
Member of Knesset, Head of Israeli Parliament, Robert Ilatov spoke with Trend in an exclusive interview.
Trend : Israeli President Shimon Peres's historical visit to Azerbaijan opened a new page in relations between the two countries. What field of cooperation do You regard the most promising for further development of the Azerbaijani-Israeli relations?
Robert Ilatov: Of course, this was a historical visit. We look forward to the Azerbaijani president's response visit to Israel in the near future. In principle, it really gives a powerful impetus to the development of the relations. Israel treats Azerbaijan very warmly since its independence. In response, we get the same warm treatment. But, of course, cooperation between the two states, the two parliaments and the two presidents will be adjusted to a higher rhythm ... Our nations are similar in many ways. We have almost the same number of population and true, Azerbaijan's area is more than Israel by four times, but from the geopolitical point of view, we are very similar. Israel has a conflict with the Palestinians, Azerbaijan - the outstanding issues with Armenian.
I think that there are all opportunities in all interesting fields for our countries to process these interests, exchange experiences and help each other.
Q: How do You see further expansion of cooperation of Azerbaijan and Israel in the field of energy?
A: Every third liter of oil in Israel is the Azerbaijani oil. Regarding gas, I think that there will be common deals. Despite such large volumes, there is a potential to increase them. Israel has much to offer to the other side to improve the economy. We have a lot of technology, development of which can raise not only oil, but also any other industry of Azerbaijan. You know, the people's employment develops economy. For example, in 1960 years, Israel has assisted in reforming the economy of Singapore, and now look at this country. We are prepared to assist Azerbaijan in developing its economy.
Q: Recently, the many note progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. How does Israel see resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict?
A: We offer Azerbaijan to solve the conflict peacefully, as we try to resolve the issue with the Palestinians. And, although these attempts have so far not been successful, I think that here [the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict] the problem is not so complicated. There are states, organizations that are interested in a peaceful solution to this conflict, and it seems to me that this is the only way out of this situation.
Q: Turkey mediated in the indirect Syrian-Israeli negotiations, although Syria and Israel refuse to sit at the negotiating table at the moment. How do You assess Turkey's role in the Middle East peace process?
A: Turkey is Israel's strategic partner and we have a strategic agreement, both in economic and other fields. We are very careful about the relations with Turkey. Syria is closely cooperating with Iran, supplying Hezbollah with large quantities of weapons, which started a war against Israel three years ago. Syria has and teaches terrorists in its territory. Therefore, the negotiations with the country can begin only when the Syrians will clean the table, and they do not incite terrorist groups against us.
As long as Syria does not refuse from the ties with terrorist organizations and Iran which has great ambitions to develop creeping Islamic terror, we cannot afford to Syria sit with us at the negotiating table
Q: How can Turkey use a strategic partnership with Israel and Syria to advance the peace process?
A: Turkey is a geopolitical bridge and it can continue to help Israel in talks with a number of Islamic countries, including Syria. Turkey will be able to participate in the peace process.
Q: What can You say about the issue for consideration of "Armenian genocide" in the Knesset?
A: Each member is free at the Israeli Parliament. Member can include any issue in the agenda. Everyone has their point of view, and the Israeli Parliament is obliged to take into account the opinion of each. But this does not mean that every question raised is to be adopted, that is, the question may be withdrawn from the agenda. We have several members, who believe the Turks committed genocide against Armenians, but in a few decades, Israel removed the issue from the agenda and I believe that parliamentarians' new attempt will have the same end. Israel has a clear position on this issue. There are international organizations that must deal with this issue ["Armenian genocide".] This is not an issue of Israel and even any parliament. The Armenians must prove their truth in all international organizations, they cannot do it. And as they are not able to do so, the recognition of this or that parliament does not prove the fact of genocide. They must provide all international organizations with evidences, as the Jews did it on the Holocaust.