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FM: Egypt ready to assist Azerbaijan in improving IDPs’ life

Politics Materials 23 May 2010 14:52 (UTC +04:00)
Cairo sympathizes with conditions of internally displaced people driven away from their houses as a result of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. It feels responsibility to assist Azerbaijan in this issue
FM: Egypt ready to assist Azerbaijan in improving IDPs’ life

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 23 / Trend U. Sadikhova /

Cairo sympathizes with conditions of internally displaced people driven away from their houses as a result of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. It feels responsibility to assist Azerbaijan in this issue. Cairo and Azerbaijan have firm historic ties, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in an interview with Trend on the eve of his official visit May 24.

"Egypt supports the OSCE Minsk Group's efforts to resolve (Armenian-Azerbaijani) conflict and stabilize the situation. It is necessary for security and peace in the whole region. Egypt closely observes events in the region. Proceeding from its regional and international responsibility, it considers necessary to realize principles of the international law, including principle of regional security, territorial integrity of the state and the right to self-determination," he said.

Egyptian minister also stressed that his country supports realization of all resolutions of the UN Security Council adopted to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It should be the basis for its settlement.

"Azerbaijan and Egypt have strong and historic relations. At the same time, Egypt has good relations with Armenia. So, we hope that the sides will be able to resolve the conflict through the talks and it will satisfy everybody," he said.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.

Visit to Azerbaijan

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and efforts to resolve it will be one of the topics of the talks during Aboul Gheit's visit to Azerbaijan where he will meet with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov and Prime Minister Artur Rasizade.

"I plan to exchange views with the Azerbaijani side on several regional and international political issues, in particular, to know Azerbaijan's opinion regarding with the last events on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," he said.

Egyptian Foreign Minister plans to inform Azerbaijan about the situation in the Middle East, including peace process to resolve Palestine-Israel conflict and ways to achieve the comprehensive and enduring peace, he said.

He added that the Iranian nuclear program will be also included in the agenda.

"There is a good coordination of actions between Azerbaijan and Egypt in the issues having mutual interest. It reflects a high level of bilateral relations," Aboul Gheit said.

Speaking about Azerbaijan's role in the Middle East, he said that Egypt values Azerbaijan's stable position in supporting for the Palestinian people's right to return to their lands and efforts to resolve the Palestine-Israel conflict. Moreover, Aboul Gheit added that he highly appreciates Azerbaijan's support concerning threat of nuclear weapon in the Middle East. Cairo stands for turning the Middle East into a nuclear-free-zone.

Aboul Gheit also plans to discuss ways to strengthen economic relations and trade between the countries. He said that Egypt is dissatisfied with existing level of trade turnover which reached 40 million in 2009 compared to 8 million in 2007.

"The level of economic relations still remains low despite huge potential of the countries and good bilateral relations," he said.

Activity of the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Commonwealth Countries established in 1992 has not affected the trade cooperation. The Fund was established to promote Cairo's contribution in development of Azerbaijan after gaining independence in 1991, he said.

"Azerbaijan and Egypt have a long story of good relations based on interaction with two peoples. It obliges us to continue developing and supporting bilateral relations procedding from prospects of the countries' huge potential and progress in free economy and high rates of development of economic growth," he said.

Nabucco

Speaking about Nabucco, Aboul Gheit said that Egypt is considering it at this stage as one of important projects on natural gas supplies from regions of Central Asia and Middle East to the European markets.

He said that the pipeline will also assist in supporting economic and investment cooperation between concerned countries and the countries involved in the project at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

"Egypt and the EU are strategic partners. So, we support study of possible gas supplies via this pipeline. Egyptian competent authorities deal with this issue. Egypt supports the projects on supplies of energy resources and strives for strengthening its role in gas industry at the world level," he said.
He said that Egypt has done much to expand exploitation of its natural gas. It turned Arab gas pipeline into reality to be one of important projects on gas supplies in Arab region.

"Its role increases in activity of Egypt-Arab-Mediterranean cooperation to provide with energy resources, especially after completion of the work. The work has been conducted (on construction of gas pipeline) from Syrian Aleppo to Turkish border," minister said.

Establishment of nuclear free zone

Aboul Gheit also touched upon establishment of nuclear free zone in the Middle East.

Egyptian minister does not rule out that the race for nuclear armaments can begin in the region if the resolution of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to clear the Middle East from nuclear weapons remains unrealized.

"After the activity of the Treaty is weakened, all countries in the region will voice their desire to work out their own nuclear program," Aboul Gheit said.

He said once more confirmed Egypt's requirements towards all countries in fulfilling the obligations to create nuclear-free-zone in the Middle East.
Speaking about Iranian nuclear program in the region, Aboul Gheit expressed Egypt's support in using nuclear program by NPT member-countries in peaceful purposes. But he warned that there is fear of regional nuclear race in future.

He said that it is necessary to jointly consider Iranian and Israeli nuclear program because use of double standards in nuclear policy in the region is impossible.

The resolution of the NPT participants dated 1995 calls for creating a zone in the Middle East yield to effective control, free of nuclear weapon and other kinds of weapons of mass rol destruction, as well as systems of their supply. But Israel together with India and Pakistan refuses from participating in the treaty not to be bind with obligations to disclose its military programs.

Israel does not refuse and admit that it has nuclear program. Egypt together with Turkey applied to IAEA to control Israeli nuclear facilities and force Israel to be the NPT participant.

Inter-Palestinian truce

As to the inter-Palestinian settlement, in which Cairo acts as a major mediator, Aboul Gheit regretted that split within Palestinian fractions complicates resolving of the problem with Palestinian national unity and delivers opportunities for Israel to disregard its legal obligations.

Representatives of HAMAS Islamic movement seize power in the Gaza strip in June 2007. They drove away followers of FATAH headed by internationally-recognized Palestinian National Administration leader Mahmoud Abbas. Attempts made to reach inter-Palestinian truce failed. According to FATAH movement, ruling in the autonomy, over 300 FATAH followers are detained in prisons of rebellious government in Palestinian enclave.

After Israeli military operation Cast Lead in the Gaza strip launched in December 2009 and lasted for 22 days, Arab countries, especially Egypt, called for Palestinian fractions to negotiate to create the united national Palestinian government. The talks were ceased in autumn 2009 when HAMAS refrained from signing the Cairo initiative on inter-Palestinian truce when FATAH signed it.

Aboul Gheit said that the current situation occurred around the talks stipulates either adoption of Cairo convention or its declining.

"We hope that our brothers who do not realize seriousness of the situation and their need in truce will open a new way to restore Palestinian unity and improve life of the population of the Gaza strip," minister said.

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