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[March 31, 2006, 23:08:37] fonte della notizia http:/
On March 30, working visit of the deputy minister of foreign affairs of Azerbaijan Araz Azimov to Canada and the USA has come to an end. It should be reminded, that Araz Azimov is the co-chairman from the Azerbaijan side in the American-Azerbaijan dialogue on safety created in 1996. The American co-chairman is John Hillen, Assistant Secretary of State on Political-Military Affairs. Annual dialogue envisages discussions on cooperation between two countries in military, political spheres and in the field of security. At the present stage of dialogue, the Azerbaijan party has been presented by delegation of high level. Alongside with the deputy minister of foreign affairs, it included the deputy minister of national security Fuad Iskenderov, the deputy chief of State Frontier Service Farhad Tagizade and the commander-in-chief of Navy Shahin Sultanov. The dialogue on safety passed within a day on March 9 in the State Department. The agenda included such questions, as cooperation in war with global terror, prevention of distribution of the weapon of mass destruction, strengthening of boundary security, activation of the American-Azerbaijan cooperation in the international organizations.

Araz Azimov, along with participation in the dialogue, has met in Washington with representatives of the state structures of the USA. In talks with representatives of the Council of National Security, Pentagon and Congress, have been considered such themes, as situation on Southern Caucasus, ways of settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan made statement in the Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies on the topic “The Diary of Security of Azerbaijan”.

Araz Azimov has given interview to Washington-based correspondent of AzerTAc about results of visit to Northern America.

-You are the first official representative of Azerbaijan who has made visit to Ottawa. At what level is the interest to Azerbaijan in this country? What can you tell about the held discussions?

-Indeed, it is the first visit of the high-ranking delegation of the Azerbaijan Republic to Canada. But our dialogue with Canada is going for some years. I mean the meetings held Baku, bilateral meetings within the multilateral forums. Canada and Azerbaijan are members of a number of organizations. We cooperate within the Council of the Euro-Atlantic partnership, OSCE. Though Canada geographically is far from the Europe, nevertheless, it shows interest to processes occurring in region and accepts in them participation. The Canadian companies as the companies of the country rich with natural resources, take direct participation in global power projects, however, their interest to Azerbaijan yet cannot be named wide. For this purpose, both parties should undertake mutual steps. First of all, it is necessary to develop legal basis of our connections. Now we have only one bilateral agreement. As the member of NATO, Canada can promote performance of obligations of Azerbaijan in the “Partnership for Peace” program. Besides, Canada has achieved significant successes in the field of planning natural resources, their development, creations of institutes, communications of the state structures with private sector, information technologies, and this experience can be useful for us.

Though it was not presented possible within one-day visit to discuss all questions, nevertheless, we managed to concern basic problems causing our concern. The position of Canada in the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict usually is not shown distinctly enough. As a member of OSCE, this country till now satisfied with only superficial moral and political support. But gradually it is possible further approach of Canada to the given question. In our region, there is a number of questions connected with Canada causing our concern: for example, participation of some Canadian companies in a number of illegal projects in Turkmenistan, participation of the Canadian company in development of gold mines in the occupied Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan. We have brought it to attention of the government of Canada. But the explanations received by us have shown, that the government of Canada do not connect itself with the given companies and tries not to interfere with these questions. We have listened to explanations, but have declared, that Azerbaijan will continue to lead up the concern to the government of Canada and to ask its help in the said questions. Certainly, simple watching from aside will give nothing. Our embassy in Canada has been functioning for two years. It managed to recover some of the Azerbaijan societies in Canada. All these are the steps undertaken by us. Simultaneously, we wait from Canada for reciprocal steps, first of all, opening of Canadian embassy in Baku.

-The American-Azerbaijan dialogue on safety co-chairman of which you are, is a frame mechanism. Projects initiated here are lead up to the country leaders for reception of the right to realization. With what concrete projects you come back in Baku after the present stage of dialogue?

-The dialogue of safety - started in 1996 has opened opportunities for studying questions in the field of safety between the USA and Azerbaijan. Dialogue is necessary for strengthening even more. In process of growth of authority and opportunities of Azerbaijan, it will grow internationally and the threats for security. Azerbaijan should be ready to it. The significant part of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the USA concerns military-political sphere, area of safety, practical works in the said spheres. Though the support rendered by America to Azerbaijan in these fields, is up to the mark, nevertheless, we have more requirements. Attitude of America to the given requirements testify that it is ready to closer cooperation. As a whole, dialogue passes positively. Issues of the agenda also have remained unchanged: safety of Azerbaijan at national and regional level, relations within NATO, increase of the role of OSCE in ongoing processes, settlement of regional conflicts, the relations among the Caspian coastal states, military-political situation in the Caspian basin. The complex of risks and threats in the Caspian region is complicated enough. Elements of war, terrorism, and environment are peculiar to it. In this sense, the USA will closely cooperate with Azerbaijan. We have achieved some agreements. Some groups of experts will arrive in Baku. They will study opportunities of connection of Azerbaijan to the initiative on power, sea safety, and also the initiative put forward by the “Great 8“, against distribution of the weapons of mass destruction.

-Whether you had touched the question connected with Iran?

-On consideration of the situation in region, discussed was and this question. We have informed, that the 130-kilometers site of the said border is under occupation. The threats deriving from here should be by all means considered. Also has been discussed the conditions in the sector of Caspian adjacent with Iran. Some steps undertaken by Iran in this area concerns Azerbaijan. We have repeatedly declared, that over border of neighboring countries should be peace, it is necessary to be respectful to these borders and observe them. We also have noted, that we have various connections, trade relations with Iran, as with a neighboring country. Many of our compatriots live in Iran. In this sense, Azerbaijan with interest and concern watches development of situation in Iran. We would not like, that there was a crisis. We are for the peace settlement of questions.

-Recently Vartan Oskanian in his statement in Washington has told, that Armenia approaches to the Nagorno-Karabakh question from the position of definition of self-government of the mentioned region. Azerbaijan repeatedly declared, that has faced in Nagorno Karabakh with a separatist regime. Under what of these aspects the United States consider the given conflict?

- The USA directly is engaged in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. They support the quick settlement of the conflict and ready to make active efforts in this direction. Though various expressions are used, nevertheless, the situation all the same. It is a question of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the conflict over the Azerbaijani land, its settlement. Azerbaijan supports joint peaceful residing of the Armenian and Azerbaijan communities in Nagorno Karabakh and granting to them corresponding guarantee. I am convinced, that at any stage Azerbaijan will achieve it as we have other way. America should understand, and Armenia - to remember, that the Azerbaijan state not only will disagree with the partition of the lands, but also will prevent it. It should not be perceived as toughening of our position. It is a position of principle with which Azerbaijan holds from the very beginning, from first day of the conflict. We shall remain on this position. We are ready to show corresponding flexibility in settlement of conflict. I speak it, including addressing to my compatriots, - living in Nagorno Karabakh, the Armenian community should be provided by self-government in any frameworks. As the Armenians assert, political forces of Azerbaijan support proscription of the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh from this region. It is not so. We never objected to residing of Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh as citizens of Azerbaijan, in this region. On the contrary, we consider, that these people should possess corresponding socio-political freedom, which it is necessary to provide with. It should not be regarded as weakness of the Azerbaijan side. Azerbaijan as the strong, modern, democratic state is ready to provide a normal life of each citizen of any ethnic origin. However, from both sides, there are extreme points. It is necessary to refuse them and come to a common denominator. The extreme position of Armenia consists that Nagorno Karabakh never was and will not be a part of Azerbaijan. It is necessary to refuse this position. And the Azerbaijan government should provide the Armenian population living in Nagorno Karabakh with model of self-government. Being based on the European models, this model should recognize our territorial integrity, inviolability of borders. It is not necessary to forget, that in Nagorno Karabakh alongside with the Armenians also lived and the Azerbaijanis. In statement of Vardan Oskanian and other politicians of Armenia they admit distortions. They approve, that Azerbaijani population of Nagorno Karabakh was few in number. First, it so not so, there lived about 50-60 thousand Azerbaijanis. Secondly, what is the difference, many, or few? Even if the point is of one thousand, value of the given question cannot be denied. The Azerbaijani community by all means should return to Nagorno Karabakh. We should provide use by both communities of the same models of self-government within the legislation of Azerbaijan. It is a constructive position of the Azerbaijan side. We are ready to pass from such hard line, as non-recognition of the rights of the Armenians, to such moderate position, as maintenance of their rights. Thus, Armenia and Azerbaijan can come to a common denominator. To name it somehow definitely is premature, and it is unimportant. The main thing is, that territorial integrity of Azerbaijan should be restored with assistance of the international community, and it is necessary to guarantee the rights of the Armenians living in Nagorno Karabakh. This question has been brought to attention of the American side. We have discussed it with the co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group from the USA Steven Mann. Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, who the next weeks will visit Washington, will continue discussions with Mr. Steven Mann.

-Till 2001, one of the objects of discussion of dialogue on safety was the 907th section. It has been for some years, as it has become invalid, but continuing, nevertheless, to remain an unfair part of the American law. Whether the given question on discussions was touched?

-Yes, the 907th Section is still discussed. But I should tell, that when the section held good, owing to the work carried out within the dialogue of safety, it was possible for US to render assistance to Azerbaijan. Today, nobody considers this Section strong. Very soon it will be possible to cancel it completely. But our long efforts, political will are necessary for this purpose and comprehensible political conditions. Though the canceling of Section is a question of principle, nevertheless, it should not interfere with our cooperation with the USA. As I have already told, it has become invalid. It should serve as a good lesson for the Armenians.

-As a result of work of dialogue on safety, it became possible creation of the American-Azerbaijan working group on economic reforms. Whether there are plans of creation in future of working groups on other spheres of mutual cooperation?

-Owing to efforts of dialogue on safety between the USA and Azerbaijan, there began our cooperation not only in the field of economic reforms, but also have begun regular contacts, meetings in the military sphere. Other power structures also closely cooperate. Currently, we develop programs of cooperation on the Caspian and the basin. For realization of it, it will be possible to create corresponding working groups in coming years.


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