Details added (the first version was posted at 10:58)
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 19 / Trend S.Agayeva/
Azerbaijan has received an observer status in the prestigious African Union.
Azerbaijani Ambassador to Egypt Shahin Abdullayev presented his credentials to African Union Commission (AUC) Chairman Jean Ping at the organization's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this week, the embassy told Trend.
At the ceremony, Ping noted that the union member states appreciated Azerbaijan's intention to obtain observer status. He expressed confidence that Azerbaijan's relations with African countries and the African Union will continue to grow rapidly.
The African Union founded on July 9, 2002 is an international intergovernmental organization consisting of 53 countries in Africa as the successor of the Organization of African Unity.
The union takes important decisions through the Assembly of the African Union, which meets twice per year. The Secretariat of the African Union and African Union Commission are located in Addis Ababa.
Praising Azerbaijan's achievements in the short period since independence, Ping said he visited Baku in 2006 as the foreign minister of Gabon in the framework of a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Conference and was impressed by the country's development and the culture of the Azerbaijani people.
Abdullayev said Azerbaijan has always supported African countries in the U.N. and other international organizations. He noted that the positions of Baku and Africa coincide on global risks. Observer status at the African Union will enable Azerbaijan to more closely monitor pan-African issues, contribute to their cause, and develop relations with African countries.
Referring to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's statement at the Sixty-Fifth U.N. General Assembly session in September 2010, Abdullayev said that Azerbaijan attaches special attention to developing countries and states affected by natural disasters. Azerbaijan will support sustainable development andn continue to contribute to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, he said.
Abdullayev informed Ping about the rapid economic development and achievements of Azerbaijan after independence, Armenia's aggression, the Armenian occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan's lands, the policy of ethnic cleansing pursued by Yerevan, the OSCE Minsk Group's activities, the negotiation process and Armenia's non-constructive position on the issue. The diplomat called on all African countries that have faced aggression and occupation throughout history to support Azerbaijan's position.