Diplomatic Academy Advanced Foreign Service Program Director: Azerbaijan shows itself worthy in Munich

Politics Materials 10 February 2010 18:53 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 10 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /

Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy Advanced Foreign Service Program Director Fariz Ismailzade spoke in an interview with Trend .

Q.: You have just returned from Munich, which hosted the forth sixth conference on security issues. What were the main issues on the agenda this year? Who participated in the discussions?

A.: As you know, the Munich Conference on Security is one of the most prestigious and respected forums in the world. Heads of military and foreign policy circles participated there to discuss the current global challenges. This year such prominent politicians as Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Foreign Ministers and Defense Ministers of the leading EU countries, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano, the former High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and other representatives of the political world elite attended the conference.

The main issues of the conference, launched on Feb. 5, were "Energy Security and change the global balance of power", "The Future of European and global security", "The Future of Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Treaty of Nuclear Weapons", "The Future of NATO: its strategy and mission", especially in Afghanistan. Of course, special attention was paid to the atomic problem of Iran, as well as a new strategy for relations between Russia and the West, the new Russia's initiative to conclude a treaty on European security, the future of Afghanistan, the chances of peace process in the Middle East.

The conference organizers acknowledged the fact that the world situation is so complex that one often has to include alternative issues, such as food security, climate change and melting ice, migration and demography, the status of the Arctic, energy security and so on in the agenda of these events.

The world has become multipolar. It is difficult for one power or bloc to cope with issues and challenges of the 21-st century. Modern states should cooperate not only with such large countries as China, India, Brazil, but also with small countries as, for example, Azerbaijan. These issues must be resolved not only by political leaders but also representatives of NGOs, private businesses, foundations and international organizations. The world is on the threshold of major changes. It is important for a modern security system to be able to adapt to new realities.

Q.: What is conference participants's opinion concerning the current situation in Afghanistan? Is there any hope for positive changes in this country in future?

A.: President Karzai, like many Western observers are confident that 2010 will be a turning point in the delicate issue of strengthening security and stability in this complicated region. The main hopes of the West now are directed for the additional troops. According to U.S. President Barack Obama's decision, troops will be sent to Afghanistan. According to analysts, he may outweigh the balance of power in favor of NATO. In the nearest future, perhaps we will be witnesses of a massive assault on the Taliban by the forces of the alliance. However, all forum participants agreed that the military option will not resolve this conflict.

In my opinion, this is the new U.S. strategy. As opposed to the policy of ex-President George Bush, the new administration understands the importance of an integrated approach to this problem. It also realizes that the issues of economic development, unemployment and social structure must be first resolved to achieve peace in Afghanistan. An important issue is to support peace and stability in the region by Pakistan and Iran, because it is impossible to combat terrorism in one country without a regional approach.

Q.: What is the alliance's future and its strategic objectives in terms of ending the Cold War?

A.: Indeed, the crucial issue is necessity in the alliance after the Cold War and the normalization of relations between Russia and the West. NATO Secretary General Rasmussen asked a group of experts and politicians, headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to develop a package of advice and recommendations to determine the new strategic concept of the alliance and to get a clear picture of NATO's future. A group will give that document this year.

It should be noted that all the speakers at the forum stressed the importance of NATO to resolve new global challenges of global security, in particular, issues of terrorism, piracy, cyber security, trafficking, drug trafficking and the problems of transnational criminal groups.

One should understand that the world is changing rapidly. Of course, threats to global security change too. NATO must be transformed into a new mobile organization ready to solve security issues not only in Europe but worldwide to resist new challenges. This alliance needs the support of countries such as China and Russia.

Q.: By the way, tell us about your impressions on Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's speech? He delivered his speech on the forum in Munich for the first time, did not he?

A.: Indeed, Yang Jiechi delivered his speech at the international arena for the first time. It proves the growing role of China in the international affairs. The West realizes that China is developing rapidly. Some observers are worried, others are looking for ways of cooperation with China and its integration into the global security issues.

Chinese Foreign Minister was very confident while delivering a speech at the forum. He sharply condemned  supplies of arms to Taiwan. He also urged the West to the single standards in environmental issues and reaffirmed the commitment of Beijing to the peace.

In my view, the weakening of the U.S. and the helplessness of the superpowers in the issues concerning Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq will force NATO to seek more cooperation and strive for greater cooperation with countries such as Russia and China.

Q.: What is the conference participants' impression on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's speech?

A.: Participants of the forum got very positive impression on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's statement. As a result of the speech it became clear that, despite our country is small, Azerbaijan plays an active role not only in regional but also global security issues, such as the peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan, energy security in Europe and Asia, regional economic cooperation, combating terrorism and radicalism, the dialogue between the West and Russia and others.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev emphasized the success of our country, and the remaining problems in the Caucasus, such as the occupation of Azerbaijani lands and the problem of numerous refugees. I think that the president's speech once again persuaded participants of the forum in the correct path of Azerbaijan's development.