Beth Am, one of the largest synagogues of Los Angeles, hosted a workshop on the strategic role of Azerbaijan within the traditional Saturday (Shabbat) service, Azerbaijan's Consulate General in Los Angeles said.
The debate was opened by Reuven Firestone, professor of the University of Southern California, who is well-known for his research in the Muslim-Jewish dialogue. Prof. Firestone spoke about Azerbaijan's history, highlighting the tradition of tolerance and the absence of anti-Semitism. Rabbi Adam Kligfeld also greeted seminar participants.
Consul General Elin Suleymanov noted the contribution of the Jewish community in Azerbaijan's development, good relations of Azerbaijani and Jewish peoples, as well as the positive dynamics of the Azerbaijani-Israeli relations.
The diplomat reminded the audience of the tragic events of January 1990 and emphasized that the unprecedented cruelty campaign of the Soviet government only strengthened the will of the Azerbaijani people to build a sovereign and independent state. In this case, the basis of Azerbaijan's statehood is the solidarity of all citizens regardless of ethnicity and religion. Azerbaijanis, and Jews, Russians and representatives of different ethnicities in Azerbaijan are among the victims of "Black January Day" (20.01.1990) Citizens of the multinational Azerbaijan, including the Jewish community also came forward to protect their country from the Armenian aggression.
Elin Suleymanov stressed that the strengthening of independent statehood and the accelerated development of the country are key priorities of President Ilham Aliyev's strategy. Regaining a legitimate independence in 1991 gave the former Soviet countries a unique historical opportunity to develop themselves. Unfortunately, unlike other countries in the post-Soviet area, the policy of Yerevan, based on narrow ethnic ideas of expansionism, does not allow Armenia to become a truly independent state and undermines the future of the Armenian people.
Azerbaijani diplomat highlighted the importance of rejecting the double standards in U.S. relations with partners in the region. This is necessary. First of all, Washington would be perceived as a fair mediator in the world. This question is particularly relevant in relations with Muslim countries.
Thanking Professor Firestone for his contribution to intercultural dialogue and understanding between Muslims and Jews, Suleymanov noted that it was the openness of the Azerbaijani society that allowed to create conditions for different spiritual communities to coexist and cooperate for many centuries . Today, Islam and other religious traditions continue to develop dynamically in the country. At the same time, it seems that the example of Azerbaijan's tolerance is not satisfied with some force outside of Azerbaijan in their efforts to destabilize society and who is trying to introduce an element of radicalism in a constructive and essential process to discuss the role of religion in a secular society.
In general, destabilizing intervention of any external forces in the process of natural evolution of society, serves neither the interests of Azerbaijan, nor the region as a whole. Experience shows that the U.S. can contribute to regional integration and development, playing an active role in settling conflicts, primarily Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as maintaining the sovereignty and statehood of friendly states on the basis of equal and mutually beneficial cooperation.
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, with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, comprising Russia, France, and the U.S., currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.