By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan is keen to establish relations with all countries in the world on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
The country's membership and chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which is the second biggest forum of sovereign states after the United Nations and unites 120 states of the world, testifies to Azerbaijan's growing global reputation.
Azerbaijan joined the NAM in 2011. With the unanimous decision of the NAM leaders of 2016, Azerbaijan was elected as the chair of the NAM for the period of 2019-22. This year, NAM member states unanimously decided to extend Azerbaijan’s chairmanship for one more year until late 2023.
Despite the fact that Azerbaijan’s chairmanship of the NAM coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, it enabled Azerbaijan to take the initiative in addressing global issues.
On November 22-23, President Ilham Aliyev met newly-appointed ambassadors of Portugal, Finland, and several NAM member countries - Nigeria, Uganda, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Chile.
At the meetings, Aliyev thanked the abovementioned countries for their support in extending Azerbaijan's NAM chairmanship until 2023, describing it as a sign of trust and friendship.
He stressed that Azerbaijan, as the NAM chairman, protected the rights of member states and supported international law and justice.
Aliyev stated that during its NAM chairmanship, Azerbaijan made great efforts to protect the interests of member countries, to the fight against COVID-19, and to the fair distribution of vaccines.
He added that Azerbaijan would continue its efforts to strengthen the ties among NAM member countries.
During the meeting with Nigerian ambassador Yakubu Santuraki Suleiman, Aliyev said that Azerbaijan and Nigeria were actively cooperating in various international organizations.
Noting that Nigeria had always supported Azerbaijan’s just position during the occupation, the president stressed that the conflict had already been resolved through military and political means.
Aliyev also expressed his confidence that the ambassador would contribute to the development of the bilateral relations.
In turn, the ambassador said that Nigeria and Azerbaijan had always been in favor of justice, adding that his country was interested in expanding cooperation with the NAM and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), especially with Azerbaijan.
The sides also noted good political relations between the two countries and opportunities to expand trade relations.
It was stressed that Azerbaijan was providing students from NAM and OIC countries with scholarships to study in the country, while students from Nigeria were studying at Azerbaijani universities under this scholarship program.
At the meeting with Uganda’s ambassador Muhammad Tezikuba Kisambira, the parties noted that bilateral relations were at a good level and there was mutual support within international organizations.
Aliyev stated that a memorandum of understanding had been signed between the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of Azerbaijan (ASAN Service) and the relevant body of Uganda. It was noted that relevant agencies of Azerbaijan were working to support the establishment of the ASAN Service in Uganda.
The sides praised Azerbaijan’s support for the UNESCO Trust Fund for the Education of Young Girls in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
In turn, the ambassador noted that the Ugandan leadership was interested in Azerbaijan’s investment in his country. The diplomat said that Uganda is ready to contribute to promoting Azerbaijan on the African continent as an attractive travel destination.
At the meeting with Bangladesh's ambassador Gousal Azam Sarker, Aliyev praised this country's support for Azerbaijan’s just position on the liberation of its historical lands from Armenian occupation both within NAM and OIC.
The head of state expressed the hope that the embassy would contribute to the development of relations and the definition of priorities for economic cooperation between the two countries during the ambassador’s diplomatic tenure.
The ambassador hailed Aliyev’s political course in the sphere of Azerbaijan's achievements in energy policy, which was founded by great leader Heydar Aliyev.
Underlining his country's great importance to relations with Azerbaijan, the ambassador emphasized that during his tenure, the embassy will do its utmost to develop bilateral relations between the two countries.
At the meeting with Philippines’ ambassador Maria Elena Algabre, the president said that Azerbaijan is interested in expanding cooperation with the Philippines, including trade relations.
He stressed the importance of intensifying ties in political and economic areas and establishing economic and trade relations.
Aliyev expressed the hope that during her tenure Maria Elena Algabre would contribute to the strengthening of the bilateral relationships.
The ambassador congratulated President Aliyev and the Azerbaijani people on Victory Day and the restoration of territorial integrity, as well as the National Revival Day.
The ambassador touched on the importance of an online Summit of the NAM Contact Group and a special session of the UN General Assembly in response to COVID-19 held at Aliyev's initiative, and a resolution on COVID-19 and vaccines recently adopted by the UN General Assembly.
Maria Elena Algabre also highlighted the successful economic development model of Azerbaijan, noting that these achievements of the country are reflected in the reports of international organizations as a progressive example.
At the meeting with Cambodia’s ambassador Kim Heng Mea, the president underlined the good potential for expanding humanitarian cooperation between Azerbaijan and Cambodia.
Describing Cambodia as a friendly country to Azerbaijan, Aliyev expressed Azerbaijan’s interest in developing bilateral relations.
The president noted very close political ties between Azerbaijan and Cambodia. He expressed the hope that the ambassador would spare no efforts to establish cooperation between the two countries’ business circles.
The ambassador pointed out the high level of bilateral relations within regional and international organizations. The ambassador noted that he would spare no efforts to contribute to the strengthening of Cambodian-Azerbaijani friendly relations and cooperation during his tenure.
At the meeting with Chile’s ambassador Rodrigo Acros, the president noted that Azerbaijan and Chile are cooperating within international organizations and in a bilateral format.
Stressing the importance of establishing bilateral trade and economic relations, Aliyev emphasized the significance of building cooperation between business circles.
The ambassador expressed his country's interest in developing relations with Azerbaijan.
Noting that Chile attaches special importance to relations with Azerbaijan, which has an observer status in the Pacific Ocean Alliance, he expressed his confidence that closer ties would be established between the two countries in the post-COVID period.
He also congratulated the president on Azerbaijan`s successful NAM chairmanship and the Organization of Turkic States.
President Ilham Aliyev and Portuguese ambassador Jaime Van Zeller have hailed the political relations between the two countries, pointing out active cooperation within international organizations.
They underlined good opportunities for the development of economic, trade, and investment relations in a bilateral format.
During the conversation the sides touched on the Azerbaijan-EU relations, hailing Azerbaijan’s successful cooperation with the member countries and other European institutions.
They expressed confidence that during ambassador Jaime Van Zeller's tenure, bilateral relations would continue to develop in a very positive way.
At the meeting with Finnish ambassador Kirsti Narinen, the president has said that the situation in the region had changed, underlining the ample opportunities for regional cooperation.
The president recalled his meetings with the Finnish president in a bilateral format and within international organizations.
The ambassador pointed to similarities between the two countries, underlining the opportunities to expand bilateral ties.
Kirsti Narinen also praised Azerbaijan’s successful NAM chairmanship.
The sides exchanged views on the strengthening of Azerbaijan-EU cooperation, and peace and stability in the region, as well as other issues of mutual interest.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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