By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan will become a major tourist destination in Western Asia and the Caucasus, Peter M. Tase, a strategic adviser on international affairs and public diplomacy to governments, universities and corporations in Europe and the Americas said in an interview with Azernews. He also made a number of forecasts about Azerbaijan’s international and foreign policies.
Listing Azerbaijan’s regions, he noted that Qabala, Oghuz, Sheki and Quba have a potential to accommodate a great number of international visitors. In addition, he mentioned Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan, which he called a major powerhouse of renewable energy production and economy of agro-forestry systems in the Caucasus and beyond, in the face of being under a ruthless economic blockade, imposed by Armenia for over three decades.
"The attractive region of Nakhchivan, under the impressive vision of President Ilham Aliyev, and Chairman Vasif Talibov has developed attractive and sustainable tourism industry, promoted food and dairy production, financed agro-forestry projects and provided its citizens with new public education infrastructure. Nakhchivan has ample, spacious road infrastructure (fully paved roads) that is envied by large European countries; its unique landscape will definitely attract a larger number of tourists in 2020," he stated.
As a major tourist destination in Europe, he added, a five-star ranking Hotel Tabriz in Nakhchivan will accommodate a growing number of international tourists from the Far East, Argentina, Latin America, Europe and the United States.
Tase further shared his forecasts about Azerbaijan’s political and economic policies.
"Azerbaijan’s Foreign Policy will heavily engage in multilateral diplomacy, to ensure that Armenia withdraws all its armed forces from the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan: Nagorno-Karabakh and its seven surrounding regions that have been totally destroyed and plundered under the ruthless Armenian Occupation (for over three decades)," he said.
The expert considers Azerbaijan will effectively harness a national policy of economic development, enhance the results of economic diplomacy, maintain stable macroeconomic levels and increase the capacity - effectiveness of public works’ investments.
"The Azerbaijani government has a keen interest to embrace technological innovations in the fields of agriculture, logistical parks, civil engineering, robotics, healthcare and artificial intelligence. Baku will come forward as a global metropolis in the fields of science, research and development projects, innovation in engineering education and research in petroleum engineering," Tase stated.
He also noted that Azerbaijan has a transparent government, a public policy that is focused mainly towards improving the lives of more than one million Internally Displaced Peprsons and has invested significant resources towards healthcare, logistical parks services and public works.
Tase emphasized that in 2019, Azerbaijan pursued a productive foreign policy strategy based on its national interests at a time of growing political and economic turmoil in the context of regional and international relations.
"Although the region had a series of adverse processes, Azerbaijan achieved an even greater economic growth of international standing owed to preservation of internal stability and the rhythm of consistent sustainable development. The government of Azerbaijan has carried out significant public administration reforms, embraced attractive economic growth and effectively implemented strategic infrastructure and transportation projects," he said.
Commenting on Azerbaijan’s foreign policy, the expert called it an integral part of the national comprehensive development strategy.
"It has contributed to strengthening the international posture and assistance of Azerbaijan as a reliable and economically sustainable partner, following the principles of multilateralism, defence of human rights and international public interest law, guided by a transparent government, and by a philosophy of peace and regional stability," Tase noted.
As a result of these inspiring efforts, he added, the world community has increased its support towards Azerbaijan's territorial sovereignty and integrity, a number of multilateral organizations have expressed their concerns on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh armed conflict, and openly defend.
"Azerbaijan’s territorial sovereignty is based on principles of International Law and inviolability of international borders," the expert underlined.
Touching upon the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit held in Baku on 25-26 October 2019 that brought together 120 member countries, he recalled that the heads of governments emphasized the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by armed forces, also stressed the importance of resolving the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict on the basis of the principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan.
"The NAM Summit confirmed that no Member State shall recognize as legal the situation that has erupted from the occupation of the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan. At the recent Summit, the NAM chairmanship was transferred to Azerbaijan, with a three-year mandate," the expert informed.
Speaking about the regional projects, Tase called the signing of Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project between Turkey and Azerbaijan on 26 June 2012, as the most strategic initiative led by the Azerbaijani government in the last two decades.
He added that the contemporary history of Azerbaijan recognizes the economic and financial benefits that TANAP Project will generate for the people of Azerbaijan.
"As of November 2019, the 16 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijan’s Natural Gas are being delivered to Turkey and a portion of its overall quantity is delivered to European Union markets. Such a priority of Azerbaijan, implemented under the guidance of President Aliyev, shapes a vigorous geostrategic influence of Baku in Brussels and will enhance the legal defense of entire territorial sovereignty of Azerbaijan under the institutional framework of European Union, United Nations and Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)," the expert highlighted.
Tase believes that TANAP will serve as an Azerbaijani passport that will convincingly admonish all International Institutions on the present security threat that exists from the Armenian occupation of the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan that unraveled three decades ago in the doorsteps of Europe.
"The European Commission Leadership, the European Council, UN Security Council and NATO must become aware of the geostrategic challenges that Southern Caucasus represents; human suffering and destruction of cultural heritage sites within the Nagorno-Karabakh region (sovereign territory of Azerbaijan), are a great loss for all humanity. All these atrocities were committed by the Armenian Armed Forces; and TANAP will give ample headway to the defense of territorial sovereignty and cultural heritage of Azerbaijan, in the shriveling concert of nations. The implementation of TANAP project meets energy, security strategy, economic and geopolitical interests of Azerbaijan," he emphasized.
The expert believes Azerbaijan ensures Europe’s energy security and is a key partner and EU supporter.
"Azerbaijan has a balanced foreign policy in Europe; it has established as a consolidated democracy, foreign policy and surges as an attractive economic partner that ensures completion of large energy (pipelines) projects on schedule," Tase concluded.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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