Exclusive interview of Trend with Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, dedicated to the results of the ending year
- How do you assess the foreign-policy successes of Azerbaijan in 2006, and what are the plans for 2007?
- In general 2006 was very rich and successful. It found its reflection both in our multilateral and in bilateral diplomatic activities. The negotiations regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement went intensively, which is the prerogative of our foreign-policy activities.
In 2007, we intend to further intensify the activities of the Ministry, and the significant role in this respect will be played by the newly opened embassies.
- What is your opinion on the possibilities to achieve progress in settling the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict in 2007? How dot you assess the activities of the mediators in this process? Did any necessities emerge to use new settlement mechanisms?
- I still hope for the progress in 2007. It is encouraged by the development of the situation in the region and in the world generally. However, we have got used to the habit of surprises from the Armenian side. If we take into consideration that 2007 is the election year in Armenia, it also may be demonstrated as a factor. However, I hope that the Armenian Head will make an accurate decision and demonstrate a political will.
As regards to the format of the negotiations, there is no need to alter it because the mediators of the OSCE Minsk Group have carried out laborious work within the Prague process in 2006, and I hope that their efforts will not be useless.
- The discussions scheduled for December 6 in UNO over the new Resolution regarding frozen conflicts has been postponed. What is being carried out in this relation, and when may the question be included in the agenda of the General Assembly?
- GUAM is carrying out active work to provide reliable and comprehensive information to the members of the UNO regarding prolonged conflicts. Many countries may not possess full information on the essence and status of the conflicts, and it needs to closely work and inform them before presenting the question to the discussions. As you know, at the time of the meeting of the Council of GUAM Foreign Ministers in Brussels on December 4, we discussed this question and decided to activate the efforts directed towards ensuring the adoption of this Resolution in the General Assembly.
- As regards to the time framework of presenting the question to the discussions, in accordance with the procedures of the U.N. General Assembly, it may take place at any time till September of the next year.
- 2006 was marked in Azerbaijan as Year of Russia. In your opinion, did it become significant in the development of the relations between the two countries? Did it assist in strengthening the status of the Azerbaijan citizens in Russia?
- Year of Russia in Azerbaijan and year before Year of Azerbaijan in Russia made a big contribution to the future development of the Azerbaijan-Russian relations. The citizens of the two countries had an opportunity to closely get familiar with the recent achievements in the sphere of culture and art. The economical relations have strengthened and the trade turnover has increased importantly. Generally Year of Russia and Azerbaijan show exclusive breadth of the bilateral relations and their close character.
With regards to the status of the Azerbaijan citizens in Russia, we are sure that this question should be resolved in a legal manner, and in this process, our Embassy in Moscow closely co-operate with the relevant state bodies of Russia.
- Javier Solana said in his interview with Trend that: the European Union has been co-operating with Azerbaijan since its independence. However, we consider that it is high time to transfer to strategic co-operation. How do you see the realization of this message in developing the relations between Azerbaijan and EU?
- Development of the strategic relations between Azerbaijan and EU was given an impulse, with signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Partnership between the European Union and Azerbaijan in the energy sphere. Of course, we consider and hope that the strategic interaction with the EU will also develop in other spheres. In its turn, the recently adopted European Neighborhood Action Plan is a universal document, which is capable to serve the frameworks for more comprehensive development of the strategic relations.
- How is the transformation of GUAM into a potential international organization important for the successful realization of Azerbaijan foreign policy? What is the position of Azerbaijan in renewal of CIS?
- It needs to note that GUAM is already in the process of transformation into a potential international organization. It has got into registration under the UNO, carries out very active co-operation with many international organizations and implements coordinated activities. And the institutionalization of GUAM is the success of Azerbaijan foreign policy. GUAM, as an international organization, may help Azerbaijan more effectively put forward its interests in the international arena.
As regards to the renewal of CIS, as you know, at the recent summit of CIS, a decision was made on creating interstate working group at the level of deputy foreign ministers with the participation of various CIS bodies and experts. By June 1, 2007, proposals will be prepared to raise the efficiency of the CIS. Azerbaijani side will participate in the work of this group.
- A number of CIS countries have transferred to intensive dialogue with NATO to enter into this organization soon. How does official Baku approach this question and does Azerbaijan intend to intensify the dialogue with NATO?
- Azerbaijan has repeatedly highlighted its European-integration policy, and in this plan, the interaction with NATO is successfully developing. However, Azerbaijan prefers more practical co-operation to formal frameworks of the interaction. Azerbaijan is successfully implementing the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO and sees this mechanism as more effective today. By the way, Azerbaijan is already in the second phase of realizing IPAP.
- Last year was also remembered with the tension of relations between the West and Iran, as well as between Russia and Georgia. What foreign-policy course should Azerbaijan support by considering the tension in the neighboring countries?
- A cool one and fully meeting the national interests of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan would like to, less than anyone else to see tension focuses on its borders, and therefore, entirely supports the diplomatic ways of resolving questions among the countries.