Details added (first version posted on 13:52)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 15
By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:
Azerbaijan, as in the previous years, continues taking successful steps, both in domestic and foreign policies, the deputy head of the Azerbaijani presidential administration, chief of the administration's foreign relations department, Novruz Mammadov said Nov. 15 at a briefing.
He said that despite the fact that there is still time until the end of this year, it is already possible to draw certain conclusions, and the latest visits clearly indicate that.
"First of all, I would like to note that this year, as in the previous years, the Azerbaijani president paid official visits to about 15 countries," Mammadov said. "Most of them are the European countries."
"For example, the visits were made to France, Greece, Hungary, Italy and other countries," he said.
Mammadov went on to add that the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev also participated in about 10 international events.
He said the president also had meetings at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the 3rd Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands, the NATO Summit in the UK, the events of the Eastern Partnership participating countries in the Czech Republic, and then the Georgia-Turkey-Azerbaijan tripartite cooperation meeting in Georgia, the Caspian Summit and other very important events.
"When summarizing all this, one can say that Azerbaijan has laid a new stage in its development," Mammadov said.
He added that today among the post-Soviet countries, Azerbaijan doesn't have any problems, and develops comprehensively and very successfully.
Mammadov, proposing to draw a comparison among states, said that aside from cooperation in economic, political, military, cultural, sports and other areas, Azerbaijan is day by day strengthening its position on international arena.
The top official also said a second stage is being launched after realization of major projects, the foundations of which were laid by Azerbaijan's national leader, Heydar Aliyev.
Mammadov added that the realization of such projects as TANAP and TAP, as well as the realization of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project next year are a continuation of the major projects, and each of them is of great importance, both for the region and for Europe.
"This was the side, related to the practical work," he added.
Mammadov further said that this year, Azerbaijan continued to work to strengthen its rating and authority on international arena, adding that about 10 European states adopted or signed statements or declarations on strategic partnership with the country.
He noted that a few days earlier, during Azerbaijani president's visit to Hungary, the two countries signed an important declaration, which will give momentum to further expansion and deepening of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Hungary in all areas.
The top official also pointed out the declaration earlier signed by the Azerbaijani and Iranian presidents in Baku.
"These declarations are very important," Mammadov said. "I am even not mentioning other documents signed during these two visits, because the declarations cover all cooperation areas between the countries."
He said that for Azerbaijan it is especially important that both declarations clearly indicate support for the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in line with the norms and principles of international law, with the non-use of violence.
Mammadov added that during the two mentioned visits, Azerbaijan and Hungary, as well as Azerbaijan and Iran exchanged views and mulled cooperation on all areas, and created conditions for taking new steps.
He also pointed out the Azerbaijan-Italy strategic partnership declaration, signed during the Azerbaijani president's visit to Italy this year.
The Azerbaijani president's participation in international events and his visits to the European countries give momentum to the development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU, according to Mammadov.
"We have a special stance in this regard," Mammadov said. "You probably know that processes were going on for many years, and we had complaints on certain issues."
Mammadov said Azerbaijan has excellent relations with each European country separately, adding that however there were some issues regarding the cooperation with the EU, and the country expressed an individual opinion on them.
"During a conversation between the Azerbaijani president and the Hungarian prime minister, I felt that the heads of both states consider the protection of their countries' national interests as their primary and main task," he said.
"Today, defending the national interests, the interests of the statehood is not so easy," Mammadov stressed.
He noted that this can also be seen on the example of Hungary, the prime minister of which stated that if a country is asked to cooperate, then its interests should be taken into account as well.
The top official went on to add that Azerbaijan is a unique country that was able to ensure its own independence and sovereignty, stability and security, and the development in the economic, political, cultural and other areas.