By Vugar Khalilov
Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has said that Azerbaijan supports lasting peace and stability in the region and the world, the Foreign Ministry has reported.
Bayramov made the remarks at the 8th meeting of the foreign ministers of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States held in Istanbul on November 11.
“Azerbaijan is a supporter of peace and supports the maintenance of lasting peace and stability not only in its region but also in all regions of the world,” Bayramov stressed.
Azerbaijan started a new post-war rehabilitation and reconstruction phase on its territories liberated following the war with Armenia. From now on, the regional issues will evolve in line with the new realities that emerged as a result of last year’s war, the minister said.
Bayramov stressed that the international community's support can help promote regional peace, stability, and prosperity.
He underlined that actions have been taken in specific areas for unblocking the regional transport and communication lines after the joint statements signed by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders on November 10, 2020, and January 11, 2021.
He assured that the transport, communications, and infrastructure projects in the region will benefit all the states involved.
“I am confident that this will contribute to peace, security and development in the region and will create additional opportunities for the entire Turkic world, as well as for other countries,” Bayramov stressed.
He added that the creation of new communication and transportation corridors in the region, especially the crucial Zangazur corridor, will strengthen regional collaboration and increase trade turnover and hopefully the partner countries would also take advantage of all this.
Bayramov described as the biggest challenge for Azerbaijan the landmines laid by Armenia in the liberated lands, which have killed 33 and injured 134 innocent people since the end of the war in November 2020.
He said that the demining and reconstruction of the liberated territories is one of the main priorities for the country and the close participation of companies from friendly countries in this process is important.
The minister recalled that large-scale construction projects are underway in the liberated lands. Azerbaijan is constructing new towns and villages from scratch, applying modern urban planning methods such as the "smart city" and "smart village" concepts and doing it on its own dime.
Bayramov said that friendly nations' participation in rebuilding the liberated lands is critical for Azerbaijan. The Turkic Council's business forums, which took place in Baku and Budapest in September this year, are also significant in this regard, he added.
Speaking about the Karabakh conflict, Bayramov recalled that the hostilities began in the late 1980s with Armenia's open territorial claims to Azerbaijan's historical lands, with its provocations and terrorist acts that resulted in military aggression against Azerbaijanis.
“As a result of Armenia's military aggression for about 30 years, 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territories have been occupied, more than one million Azerbaijanis have been expelled from their native lands, and about 4,000 of our compatriots are still missing,” Bayramov noted.
He noted that Armenia initiated another large-scale military provocation on September 27, 2020, shooting on Azerbaijani positions, villages and other civil facilities along the contact line.
Azerbaijan initiated counter-offensive operations, invoking the right of self-defence established by UN Charter Article 51, in order to repel Armenian military aggression and secure the safety of its citizens, he added.
“As a result of the 44-day operation, Armenia was defeated and signed an act of capitulation, thus ending the conflict. Thus, Azerbaijan has ensured the implementation of four known UN Security Council resolutions,” Bayramov emphasized.
Over the past 30 years, Armenia has committed urbicidal, cultural and ecological crimes on the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, destroyed all cultural and religious monuments, and wiped out nine cities and hundreds of villages, he said.
Bayramov thanked Turkey, the Turkic Council, and all the friendly countries for their high-level political and moral support to Azerbaijan during the 44-day war, which played a crucial role in achieving victory.
Azerbaijan's Turkic Council chairmanship
Bayramov spoke about Azerbaijan's achievements during its Turkic Council chairmanship since October 15, 2019
He stressed that the organization continued to operate at full capacity despite the COVID-19 pandemic and cooperation between its member countries further developed, and the organization's role in the international arena increased in the said period.
Bayramov stressed that Uzbekistan became a full-fledged member of the organization, while Turkmenistan received observer status.
The minister said that on April 10, 2020, at Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's initiative, an extraordinary summit of the Council dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic was held. As a result, the ministers responsible for the economy, transport, health, energy, customs and migration discussed the pandemic and further development of relations among the member states.
During Azerbaijan’s chairmanship, regular meetings of the presidents and ministers were held and cooperation mechanisms in the health, migration, agriculture, energy, justice, and humanitarian fields were established.
On March 31, 2021, Baku hosted an informal online summit of the Turkic Council and on February 6, 2020, an extraordinary meeting of the foreign ministers.
Moreover, he added that the organization held an extraordinary meeting on the situation in Afghanistan and its impact on the Turkic Council member states on September 27, 2021, in Istanbul.
Speaking about Hungary’s active involvement in the organization as an observer state since 2018, Bayramov appreciated the opening of the Turkic Council representative office in Budapest in 2019.
He underlined that this case will contribute to cooperation between the Turkic Council and European institutions and create access to Europe for the organization.
Bayramov stressed that Azerbaijan attaches special importance to the activities of TURKPA (Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries), TURKSOY (The International Organization of Turkic Culture), Turkish Academy, the Turkish Culture and Heritage Foundation, noting that the coordination between these organizations that established during the Baku summit should be intensified.