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Azerbaijan to raise challenging issues of global nuclear safety

29 March 2016 18:10 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan to raise challenging issues of global nuclear safety

By Aynur Karimova

While preventing spread of nuclear weapons remain a top agenda of global security, the world leaders will gather in Washington on March 31 through April 1 to discuss the main challenges for international security.

The 4th Nuclear Security Summit will convene on a difficult time when multiple risks undermine the global security. Pyongyang's nuclear and rocket programs, terrorist attacks on Turkey, Belgium and Pakistan, as well as security problems in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have put the world leaders under a pressure to find a solution to such global security problems.

In the aftermath of the horrific terror attacks in Brussels, world leaders at a special session during the Nuclear Security Summit next week will discuss threats posed by groups like ISIS to urban areas across the globe and seek solutions to counter such assaults.

“Next week, dozens of world leaders will come here to Washington for a summit focused on nuclear security," U.S. President Barack Obama said in his weekly radio and web address to the nation. "We’ll use that opportunity to also review our joint efforts against ISIL and to make sure the world remains united in this effort to protect our people.”

Obama invited Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to attend the Summit which will bring together 56 delegation from the globe.

The world leaders will discuss these threats and highlight steps that can be taken together to minimize the use of highly-enriched uranium, secure vulnerable materials, counter nuclear smuggling and deter, detect, and disrupt attempts at nuclear terrorism.

The visit of President Aliyev to Washington is of particular importance, Novruz Mammadov believes.

The deputy head of Azerbaijani presidential administration, chief of the administration’s foreign relations department said in an interview with local TV channel that during the Summit, President Aliyev will talk about the work carried out in Azerbaijan on nuclear safety and on the challenges that are still to be implemented.

"Another importance of this summit is that it will hold different meetings, contacts and discussions," he said, noting that such meetings make important steps to uphold bilateral relations," he noted.

Today, Azerbaijan, located between East and West, North and South, on the border of Islamic and Christian worlds, plays a specific role in the world security system. Being a reliable partner, Azerbaijan also plays a crucial role in ensuring the energy security of the European continent. In this context, Azerbaijan's security and stability assumes a particular importance urging the partner nations to take necessary steps to restore Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

Azerbaijan, located in the heart of South Caucasus, suffers Armenian aggression for over 20 years. Armenian keeps under control over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory and poses a real threat to the regional security of South Caucasus.

Azerbaijan has repeatedly urged the international community to take decisive steps against outdated nuclear power plant constructed in Armenia almost 40 years ago.

Addressing the 2014 Hague Summit, President Aliyev spoke about the dangers posed by this obsolete nuclear power plant. He said that this power plant is a big threat to the entire region and the nearby neighbors.

"The consequences of any accident will be tragic. Instead of eliminating international concern and closing the power plant, Armenia made a decision to continue operating the nuclear power plant until 2026," the president said voicing a concern that the facility is located in a highly-seismic zone and is based on an outdated and extremely dangerous technology.

The Nuclear Security Summit is an important tribune to discuss challenging international problems and to hold bilateral meetings. This year, President Aliyev is expected to hold bilateral meetings with top officials of participating countries.

No official information is available about President Aliyev's visit to Washington, but experts believe that the protocol of the visit will include bilateral meetings. Despite the Armenian media's reports about the possible meeting of presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia on the sidelines of the Summit, this information was denied by James Warlick, the OSCE Minsk Group US co-chair.

President Aliyev's Washington visit assumes great interest amid warming relations between the U.S. and Azerbaijan. Experts believe the visit may open a new page in Azerbaijan's cooperation with the West.

Azerbaijan remains playing an important part in international security system.

Firstly, Azerbaijan plays a crucial role in ensuring the energy security of Europe by its giant Southern Gas Corridor project. Secondly, Azerbaijan is located on the crossroads of significant international transport projects running from East to West and from North to South. Thirdly, Azerbaijan enjoys good relations with Iran, Russia, Turkey, Israel and the Arab countries thanks to its wise and farsighted policy pursued by the government.

Since regaining its independence, Azerbaijan has been actively involved in combat against cyber crimes, and showing big efforts in fight against nuclear terrorism. Also, Azerbaijan strongly supports the UN's efforts aimed at strengthening the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

One can expect that Azerbaijani president's participation at the 4th Nuclear Security Summit will lead to further proximity between Washington and Baku, and pave the way for achieving mutual understanding on many issues.


Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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