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Azerbaijan achieved great success on energy security: official


September 01, 2013

By Aynur Jafarova

Energy security has become a very important issue in the world and Azerbaijan has achieved great success in this sector, head of the Presidential Administration's foreign relations department Novruz Mammadov said on September 1.

Adressing the forum "South Caucasus in a changing world", organized by the Association of Scientists for International Relations of the Center of Strategic Studies under the President of Azerbaijan, Mammadov said that Azerbaijan played an important role in major projects in the area of energy security.

"Without Azerbaijan's initiative and participation, these projects could not have been implemented," Mammadov said.

During his speech Mammadov also spoke about Azerbaijan's history.

"If we look at Azerbaijan's history, we will see that multiculturalism has an ancient history in the country. Representatives of different religions have been coexisting peacefully in Azerbaijan for many years," he said.

Mammadov noted that after Azerbaijan's independence, the country's government took the required steps to ensure that the geostrategic space could provide stability and development of the country and has achieved this.

"Azerbaijan has already become a leading country in the South Caucasus region. South Caucasus is a complex region, and Azerbaijan's leadership is trying to provide regional peace and stability," Mammadov said.

According to him, Azerbaijan has achieved success in many fields.

"Important steps have been taken in both the cultural and political spheres," the Presidential Administration official said.

Mammadov also spoke about the attention paid to the development of the media, and noted that numerous media outlets are carrying out their independent activity in the country.

According to him, there are 60 political parties in Azerbaijan, and the government provides financial assistance for their development.

Azerbaijan is also paying special attention to the development of non-governmental organizations, Mammadov said.

Speaking about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the senior official said that a crisis of international law prevails in the world today.

Currently it is impossible to speak about success in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Mammadov said.

"If we look at the processes taking place in the world, we can see that the global economic crisis has been the most important issue discussed by the world community over the past five or six years. However, another crisis - the crisis of international law - dominates in the world today. This very crisis leads to the emergence of other crises," he said.

Mammadov underscored that the principles of justice of international law are being violated.

"Unfortunately, the international community does not put forward a fair position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Azerbaijan has been facing the fact of occupation of its lands for over 20 years," Mammadov said.

Despite Azerbaijan's high-level cooperation with such organizations as the European Union, the OSCE and NATO, presently these organizations do not fulfill the requirements arising from the signed resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is an indicator of a crisis in international law, Novruzov said.

"With societal development, the countries must develop in a more civilized manner, the regulation of relations between them should be at a higher level, but, unfortunately, today this is something we don't see," Mammadov added.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a lengthy war that ended with the signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Armenian armed forces have since occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, defying the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on a pullout from the occupied territories.

Peaceful coexistence of religions

Speaking at the event, chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Elshad Iskandarov said that representatives of various religions coexisted peacefully in Azerbaijan's territory.

According to him, the history of tolerance in Azerbaijan is related to the location of the country on the Great Silk Road.

For a long time residents of the countries located on the Great Silk Road have coexisted peacefully and have been engaged in trade, Iskandarov said.

"Another main reason of the ancient history of tolerance in Azerbaijan is the formation of various religions and religious directions in the territory of Azerbaijan. The result of this is that at present representatives of various religions and religious movements in Azerbaijan coexist peacefully," the committee chairman said.

He added that equal rights are provided in Azerbaijan for representatives of all religions.

Energy security

In his remarks chairman of Startfor analytical center George Friedman said that Azerbaijan has become one of the important countries in the world by playing a significant role in ensuring energy security.

According to him, Azerbaijan pays special attention to the development of industry and applies advanced technologies.

Friedman also believes that the development of relations between Azerbaijan and the U.S. is obvious.

The U.S. is the best ally of Azerbaijan, he said.

Friedman said Azerbaijan and the U.S. have common interests. Despite challenges on several issues, every year rapprochement is seen between the two countries. U.S.-Azerbaijan relations have reached a crucial point. Therefore, the Azerbaijani side should demonstrate tolerance towards several views which are voiced by the U.S., Friedman said.

The world is changing, however, Azerbaijan's interests and invariable, he said.

"Azerbaijan's national interests mean its stable development in the region and in the world as well as its independence from leading countries. This was achieved by National Leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev thanks to a far-sighted policy," Friedman said.

He said further that the U.S. has interests in the region, and in this context, the development of the relations between the U.S. and Azerbaijan is very important.

Azerbaijan's policy

Speaking at the forum, head of the center of studies for post-Soviet countries under Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Stanislav Chernyavski, said that Azerbaijan's policy stands out for its systematic nature. Thanks to this, the country's policy has shown its positive results, Chernyavski said.

Touching on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Chernyavski said the world community has not been able to achieve progress on this issue over 20 years.

"Currently Azerbaijan spends huge money on the military and provision of the necessary facilities for refugees. Meanwhile, these funds would be expended on other projects and the neighboring countries would benefit from this," he said.

South Caucasus region's potential

Speaking at the event, President of the Jamestown Foundation Glen Howard said that European countries are uniform on the real potential of the South Caucasus region and underestimate its possibilities.

According to him, the U.S. better understands the significance of the region.

Howard went on to say that Azerbaijan contributed to ensuring the security in Afghanistan.

According to him, today Azerbaijan represents the economic power of the South Caucasus region and 75 percent of investments in the region come from Azerbaijan. At the same time, Azerbaijan is the gates of Asia, he said.

He also touched on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"The conflicts have dealt a huge blow to Azerbaijan and Georgia. The situation in Karabakh continues to be dangerous and the sides incur losses every day," Howard said.

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