Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 24
By Gulgiz Muradova - Trend:
Azerbaijan is an independent reliable partner within the global community of nations, said Rob Sobhani, director general of the Caspian Group Holdings.
He emphasized that the global community can depend on Azerbaijan to be a reliable partner in all fields of international cooperation, including diplomatic, economic, cultural and military.
"This is very important because it signals the stability of Azerbaijan. Global powers such as China, EU and America can rely on Azerbaijan for cooperation that is long-term and reliable," he told Trend.
Asked about the major achievements since the restoration of Azerbaijan's independence, Sobhani pointed to an independent foreign policy, economic growth (which brings with it the expansion of the middle class) and restoration of Azerbaijani identity both inside and outside the borders of Azerbaijan.
"National leader Heydar Aliyev laid the foundation of today's independent foreign policy. In practical terms this means that no one can dictate terms to Azerbaijan. The stability of Azerbaijan's political system over the past 25 years has meant a steady economic growth that has lifted hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis out of poverty. Today, according to the World Bank, the rate of poverty in Azerbaijan is down to 5 percent, " he said, further noting that this is a remarkable accomplishment which means that the leadership of Azerbaijan has been able to expand the middle class.
As for the restoration of Azerbaijani identity inside the country and on the international stage, Sobhani regards it as a major accomplishment of the past 25 years.
"Both President Aliyev and the First Lady are solely responsible for this achievement. Nations have survived over the centuries because they have been able to keep their identity. Years from now when historians write the story of Azerbaijan since its independence they will point to the fact that the leadership of Azerbaijan preserved the culture, language and heritage of Azerbaijan for generations to come," he said.
Sobhani further stressed that Azerbaijan has also established itself as a reliable partner for energy security on the global stage.
While Azerbaijan's neighbors play politics with their energy exports, the leadership of Azerbaijan recognizes that consumers around the world want stability and Azerbaijan provides this stability, he said.
"For this reason Azerbaijan has become an anchor for energy security within the Caspian Sea region. The Southern Gas Corridor will also become a major source of revenue for the Government of Azerbaijan thus allowing for more investments in the non-energy sector of Azerbaijan's economy, such as light manufacturing and tourism. In order to ensure that Azerbaijan's role as a reliable provider of gas to markets around the world is recognized and cemented, SOCAR and its partners need to embark on a global campaign via radio, TV and social media called 'Azerbaijan: Energizing the World' ," Sobhani noted.
Sobhani further highlighted Azerbaijan's atmosphere of religious tolerance, which is unique within the Muslim world.
"In fact, Azerbaijan can be a model for how a Muslim country can accommodate people with different faiths," he said, adding that Christians, Jewish community are safe in Azerbaijan, while members of the Bahai Faith can practice their religions in an atmosphere of freedom.
"The people of Azerbaijan should be proud of this atmosphere of religious tolerance, which reflects on the good nature and kind character of the people of Azerbaijan," he noted.
Sobhani emphasized that religious freedom is a fundamental human right and this needs to be emphasized by Azerbaijan's diplomats and politicians at international gatherings and at capitals of major powers, like Washington, Paris and London.