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Azerbaijan

OIC recalls Arif Mammadov from post of ambassador to EU

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84554The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has confirmed the fact that Arif Mammadov (pictured) has been recalled from the post of OIC ambassador to the European Union by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the letter of the OIC secretariat, sent to the embassy of Azerbaijan in Saudi Arabia in response to the note of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, the second secretary of the press service of the ministry Konul Suleymanli said on 15 June.

“The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in response to the note of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry about suspension of the activity of Mammadov as a permanent representative of the OIC to the EU, said that Mammadov no longer represents the organization to the EU in any capacity,” Suleymanli said with reference to the OIC secretariat.

Open letter from Ambassador Arif Mammadov
Dear Mr. President of the EP,
Members of the EP,
Excellences,
Dear friends, 
Please find enclosed my open letter to President Aliyev that I put on my Facebook page and published today in all Azerbaijani newspapers for your information

Open letter to the President of Azerbaijan.

Mr President,

The national provocateur and clown of Azerbaijan, Eynulla, having received another order from his masters, he has generously poured out on the pages of his well-paid miserable paper new dirty revelations and "deep thoughts" about the alleged conspiracy of Ambassadors against you. As I have informed you once in an earlier letter, that certain circles in the Presidential Administration intentionally create imaginary conspiracies by the West, the Council of Europe, the European Union and now the Ambassadors in order to justify their needless usefulness.

Provocation is the only thing these people are capable of. They hate the entire Azerbaijani nation, clever and talented people, since they see in them a threat to their worthlessness.

Mr President,

It is time to take bold decisions and get rid the country of this evil. These people are hated by the entire Azerbaijani nation. They harm your image and deliberately create a negative image of our country in the world. They are the cancer of the country. You know perfectly well who these people are. They attack the last best cadres of your team. Today they have chosen as a target the best diplomats of the country headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. They will not stop if you do not make urgent decisions. The people of Azerbaijan hope that you will make the right decisions.

Ambassador Arif Mammadov

Sincerely,
Arif Mammadov
Ambassador
Permanent Observer Mission of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation
To the European Union
26, Rue du Trône - 1000 Brussels/Belgium

Armenia

Unprecedented attack on a diplomatic mission of #Azerbaijan in Europe

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A violent rally accompanied by acts of vandalism by Armenian diaspora took place in front the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Brussels on 22 July 2020. Demonstrators even tried to penetrate the Mission building with a clear aim of doing more harm.

This was the continuation of the very recent attack to the premises of the Embassy on 19 July 2020.

This is apparently continuation of radical Armenian rallies and attacks on Azerbaijan in other parts of the world, including but not limited to Paris, Los Angeles, Netherlands, and Warsaw.

The rally turned into a terrorizing attack to the Mission, camouflaged as peaceful demonstration.

Protestors rally threw various objects including stones, pyrotechnic articles, paintball shells and bottles, at the Mission building, diplomats and women and children gathered within the fences of the Mission.

The attack continued for several hours even after the demonstration was officially supposed to be ended within the maximum limit of two hours.

As a result, several diplomats, and civilians, including media representative were left with serious injuries and taken by ambulances to the hospitals.

The consequences of this rally were clearly a violation of international law, namely the international obligations envisaged in Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

The victims of this attack are citizens of Belgium, and MEPs from all sides call upon the  Government of Belgium should show determination and act according to Belgium legislation and its international obligations as host country to punish all those involved in such violence in the heart of Europe.

 

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Armenia

Time for “Big Brothers” in the Karabakh conflict?

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Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has warned that Armenia's political and military leadership will “bear the entire responsibility for the provocation." His comments come after the latest deadly clashes between the two sides.

The clashes occurred some 300 km from the mountainous enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh which Armenia and Azerbaijan have been fighting over for decades.

The fighting, which broke out on July 12, is now the deadliest since the “April War” of 2016  but that conflict took place on the line of conflict between the Armenian-controlled de facto republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan proper, where clashes have been more common. The more recent battles have been on the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, where there have been occasional exchanges of fire in recent years, but not fighting this serious since the 1990s

The total number of Azerbaijani killed since Sunday has risen to 11 since border clashes at the weekend reignited the simmering Azerbaijan-Armenia territorial conflict.

Azerbaijan says one of its generals and five other officers were killed in a third day of fighting with Armenian forces on the countries' border. Among the six Azeri officers killed were Maj-Gen Polad Hashimov and Col Ilgar Mirzayev.

Azerbaijan's defence ministry said a 76-year-old man was also killed in the village of Agdam, by Armenian shelling.

All eyes are now on Russia, which helped negotiate a ceasefire in 2016 after the so-called "April War" - in which some 200 soldiers and civilians were killed, and the two sides came close to all-out war.

President Aliyev has also accused Armenia of dragging its feet in the peace process designed to end the conflict in order to maintain the status quo.

Azerbaijan is frustrated that after nearly three decades there has still been no progress towards settling the conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, and seven adjacent Azeri territories currently under Armenian control.

The two neighbours in the South Caucasus are locked in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region of Azerbaijan under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia.Both countries were part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in the 1990s.

They fought a bloody war over a disputed territory, which remains unresolved. Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but is controlled by ethnic Armenians.

The fresh clashes this week, however, took place north of this disputed territory.

Azerbaijan says heavy fighting is continuing in Tovuz district, bordering on Tavush in north-eastern Armenia.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Russia was "deeply concerned" about the outbreak of violence.

An Azerbaijan government spokesman said, “The armed forces of Armenia have flagrantly violated the ceasefire regime and used artillery mounts to fire on the positions of Azerbaijan’s armed forces.”

The armed forces of Azerbaijan, he said, had responded with counter fire and launched counteroffensive measures, preventing the advancement of the Armenian armed forces.

The attack by Armenia, with the use of artillery, against the positions of the armed forces of Azerbaijan, along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, “constitutes aggression, an act of the use of force” says the government spokesman.

The recent bloody attacks by Armenia are branded “direct provocation”, partly because Armenia has long wanted to turn the military power of its ally Russia against Azerbaijan, says the spokesman.

Further comment comes from Hikmat Hajiyev, Head of Foreign Policy Issues in the  Department of the Administration, who said, “Such military recklessness on the part of Armenia pursues an objective of drawing the military-political organizations to which it is a party to into the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, and evade the responsibility of occupation and aggression against Azerbaijan. Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan that has lasted for nearly 30 years and provocations perpetrated along the border also contravene the legal documents of the military-political organizations to which Armenia is a member.

The Secretariat of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has also voiced concern at the perceived Armenian motives. It has reminded Armenia that it is a member of CSTO and called for an immediate restoration of the ceasefire in the so called CSTO responsibility zone.

Quickly after the fighting broke out, Armenian officials began to publicly call for the CSTO to get involved but the CSTO’s response has been lacking. It first called, and then abruptly canceled, an emergency session of the organization’s security council, putting it off until an undetermined date.

The region, he noted, is circled by Iran with Turkey an immediate neighbour and both the EU and US as interested regional and global actors.

This tension, created by Armenia is in the interest of a third side to stop all existing energy and connectivity projects with Europe in region and to prevent full implementation of Southern Gas Corridor, which is in final stage.

During COVID-19 cargo transportation via Azerbaijan’s territory doubled, when lines on North and South from AZ suffered.

Tensions in the south of the EU , with Libya, Syria , refugees in the Mediterranean etc all  impact on the southern logistics of the EU. And now the Eastern logistic system is being targeted.

Azerbaijan has international support.  Delivering remarks following the meeting of the Presidential Cabinet, President Erdoğan said: “Turkey will never hesitate to stand against any attack on the rights and lands of Azerbaijan, with which it has deep-rooted friendly ties and brotherly relations. It is our duty to accordingly mobilize all our political, diplomatic and social ties in the region and the world.”

Armenia, presenting themselves as military ally of CSTO,  is trying to use it as part of the Pashinyan provocation to consolidate his support.

But it is very dangerous for Europe’s interests in the region. The EU should deliver necessary messages to Armenia that it acts against EU’s vital interests in the region and EU’s large financial support to his country will be reconsidered if Armenia will not stop harming EU interests and values.

An EU source said, “Russia’s involvement in these clashes would be catastrophic not only for the region but for the wider European area as well.

Drawing Russia into the conflict would also be devastating for Armenia itself, which, after all, has caused the current crisis due to its aggression and occupation policy.”

The Brussels-based Paul Saunders, an expert on the region, condemned the “aggressive and terrorist nature of Armenia’s action.”

“The leadership of Armenia shouldn’t think that their actions will go unpunished,” he says.

 

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Azerbaijan

#Azerbaijan - from battlefield to the hub of inter-regional projects

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“To find yourself, think for yourself” – this is how great philosopher Socrates described the freedom and independence almost 2,500 years back. This aphoristic sentence provokes potentially limitless debates on determinism between the independence of nations, and their development, achievements and contributions to the humanity. History of nations is full of proves for supporters of such a determinism, but the price paid for national pride, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity differs by geographic regions, as well as by countries – writes Fuad Isgandarov Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the EU 

Fuad Isgandarov Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the EU 

Fuad Isgandarov Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the EU 

Azerbaijan, located at the meeting point of Europe, Asia, Middle East and circled by regional and global scale important actors like Russia, Turkey and Iran, historically has been a fault zone and battlefield between imperial powers. The strategic importance of this relatively small country is inversely proportional to the size of its modern territory which comprehends only 0,06 percent of total land area of the Earth. Imperial wars and fierce competition of middle ages over its territory has intensified after the discovery of vast oil reserves in the 19th century. This deadly rivalry had continued in the course of the WWI and culminated with Operation Edelweiss, a Nazi German plan to capture the oil fields of Baku during the WWII.

However, there is a period of 23 months at the beginning of the 20th century that occupies a glorious page in the history of Azerbaijan. In the brief moment between the collapse of imperial Russia and the establishment of the Soviet Union, on May 28, 1918 independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was proclaimed. Though short-lived ADR was the first parliamentary democracy in the Muslim world who demonstrated unprecedented track record of reforms granting equal political, social and economic rights to all its citizens regardless of nationality, religion, class, or gender. Being the first republic in the Islamic world to empower women by extension of suffrage, Azerbaijan was way ahead of many modern democracies in the world. In a September 1919 speech, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson recalled his meeting with the Azerbaijani delegates representing the ADR at the Paris Peace Conference with following words: “I was talking to men who talked the same language that I did in respect of thoughts and ideas, in respect of conceptions of liberty, and in respect of rule of law and justice”.

 

Bolshevik military intervention resulted in the termination of independence of Azerbaijan in April 1920, leaving 70 years of forced break until 1991, when Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence again. Despite the first years of independence has brought considerable economic and social hardships doubled with the devastating humanitarian crisis caused by the Armenian aggression and occupation, the signing of 7.4 billion USD worth oil agreements with international companies in 1994 paved a new way to turn Azerbaijan into a modern, powerful state with sustainable economic development. This strategy, which was the first major indication that Azerbaijan has started to think for himself again, launched the process of fundamental transformation of the political, economic and social reforms.  Successful construction and commissioning of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa oil pipelines, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline has also showcased Azerbaijan as a reliable and committed partner of the EU contributing to pan-European energy security and beyond.  Now Azerbaijan is a key enabler of another inter-regional project - Southern Gas Corridor – which will help increase European energy security by bringing Caspian gas resources to markets in Europe for the very first time.

 

Yet there is another strategic area of cooperation emerging for Azerbaijan. COVID-19 crisis proved one more time the national security component of diversifying the international supply routes and sources. At this point, the territory of Azerbaijan which plays a natural bridge role between the East and West, North and South comes to help. When some of the countries implement restrictions, Azerbaijan kept open all its transit/transport corridors connected to different parts of the world. There were not been implemented any restrictions on any international freight crossing Azerbaijan through land, water and air corridors. The geographic coverage of those trade corridors spans across but not limited to China, Afganistan, Central Asia, Persian Gulf / Iran and India, Caspian Sea, Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey and wider Black Sea basin with coastal member states such as Romania and Bulgaria, as well as Poland, Austria, and the Baltic countries. Newly commissioned Baku – Tbilisi – Kars railway is becoming an imprtoant link in this regard.

 

In order to successfully support and develop those inter-regional trade corridors, it is necessary to achieve a solid political and macro-economic stability in the country. Azerbaijan has proved itself in that regard back few years ago when it provided a favorable, liberal investment regime for foreign companies in oil-and-gas industry. It is keen to do so again, this time in trade-logistics sector by creating a Free Economic Zone in Alyat, around the new and still expanding Port of Baku. Its goal is to facilitate trade across Europe and Asia and, in so doing, to revitalize the idea about ancient Silk Road by applying modern instruments of trade facilitation and investment promotion. The potential for that is enormous. Basically, Free Economic Zone in Alyat has a potential to bring to Azerbaijan and in a domino-effect to the region what once the Contract of the Century gave back in 1994. This time, it will be all about going non-oil and boosting a drive to diversify away from hydrocarbons. Offering a maximum available liberal investment and fiscal regime to local and foreign investors, producers, traders or logistics operators, this Zone will also contribute to a gradual shift to more innovative governance platforms in various fields of economy. It basically will push for a mushroom effect of regional logistics-trade zones, thus connecting several ports and trade routes. It is expected also to give rise to a green and digital hub concept across the region.

 

For Albert Camus freedom is nothing but a chance to be better. Without doubts, the one who is ever ready to take the initiative, he is always confident of finding a way out of difficulties.

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