On the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Azerbaijan’s diplomacy, e-newspaper VietnamPlus has the honour of introducing a summary of an article written by Azerbaijani Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov and published on IRS Heritage 2-3 (39-40), 2019, Special Edition and highlighting milestones in Vietnam-Azerbaijan diplomatic relations.
On July 9, 1919, the Government of the Azerbaijan People’s (Democratic) Republic (ADR) adopted a temporary instruction on the secretariat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to a Decree of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev sated August 24, 2007, this date was taken as the basis for the establishment of the Day of employees of the Diplomatic Service of Azerbaijan.
One century separates us from a time when the ADR was taking its first steps in the international arena. It was an incredibly hectic century which encompassed the collapse of former empires which perished in the fire of World War One, Azerbaijan’s state independence in the form of the first republic in the Muslim East, the loss of this independence, seven decades within the USSR and the new historic achievement – the proclamation in 1991 of the Republic of Azerbaijan which, for almost three decades, has consistently strengthened its positions in the region and the world as a whole.
Despite living at a junction where the interests of global superpowers converged and often overtly collided, the Azerbaijani people always showed a strong determination and steadfast will to uphold its freedom. This demonstrates a continuity of the traditions of statehood and the fact that it is embedded in national consciousness. Emphasizing this, the Founding Father of the modern Azerbaijan State Heydar Aliyev said in an address to young people in 2001: “Our greatest achievement is the acquisition of state independence.”
In essence, the past hundred years have become the annals of the formation and development of modern Azerbaijan statehood. It should be noted that the Republic period of our history did not arise in a vacuum – it was organically prepared by all of its predecessors.
Located at a crossroads of the Great Silk Road, Azerbaijan confirmed with its own example the accuracy of Napoleon’s saying that “Geography is a destiny”. Foreign policy mechanisms of promoting their own interests in such a difficult environment, their alignment with the aspirations of close and distant states were not at all alien to the old generations of our ancestors.
There are quite a few documents in the archives of various countries regarding an exchange of embassies between medieval Azerbaijan states and those of Europe. Russia and Asia. One of the most remarkable figures of that time was Sarah Khatun, the mother of Uzun Hasan – the ruler of the Aghgoyunlu dynasty. She was so insightful in state affairs that she would conduct important negotiations and even succeeded in reaching an agreement with Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, thus writing her name in history as the first female diplomat in the Muslim world.
Such was the rich historical foundation on which the people of Azerbaijan began to transform into a new social and political community, a nation, in the 19th century. This process proceeded synchronously with many countries of Eastern Europe and led to the subsequent proclamation of a state that embodied the model of a parliamentary republic. The Act of Independence of Azerbaijan adopted by the National Council on May 28, 1918 already stated: “The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic guarantees within its borders civil and political rights to all its citizens irrespective of ethnic origin, religion, social status and gender”. The document also emphasized the desire to “establish good-neighborly relations with all members of the international community”.
Of course, the very existence of the ADR in the aftermath of the World War One, the Bolsheviks’ expansion and the aggression on the part of neighboring Armenia was as difficult and turbulent as it was crucial in terms of the development of Azerbaijan’s foreign relations.
Overall, as was the case in many other areas, the period when Heydar Aliyev led Soviet Azerbaijan was marked by the emergence of qualified Foreign Ministry professionals who subsequently formed the backbone of the diplomatic corps for the young Azerbaijan Republic.
Having restored its state independence in 1991 and become a fully-fledged member of the UN on March 2, 1992, just like at the beginning of the 20th century Azerbaijan was faced with aggression on the part of the Republic of Armenia.
In the current circumstances, it is quite clear that the elimination of the consequences of the military aggression by the Republic of Armenia is the primary and most significant problem which the Republic of Azerbaijan as a responsible member of the international community is trying to peacefully resolve through substantive and result-focused negotiations.
On the other hand, despite the presence of foreign aggression, a balanced and multi-vector foreign policy pursued by the Azerbaijani state ensures consistent strengthening of Azerbaijan’s international authority and significance in the system of international relations.
By developing mutually beneficial and equitable cooperation both in bilateral and multilateral formats, Azerbaijan follows the path of meeting the needs of national progress by promoting its external relations and partnership.
In particular, diversified cooperation develops successfully with all neighboring states – except for Armenia, of course. Azerbaijan grants its transit opportunities for the implementation of logistical projects within the framework of the East-West, North-South and South-West corridors. The development of the country’s rich energy potential continues.
Along with the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline, which has been a source of major revenue for many years, work on the Southern Gas Corridor is also in its final stages.
Azerbaijan takes the most active part in the dialogue among Caspian littoral states, which led to the signing of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in 2018 and created the conditions for the transformation of the sea into a zone of peace, good neighborliness and cooperation. All this has allowed us the opportunity to minimize the adverse impacts of crises which undermined global economic growth.
The internal potential accumulated in this way is consistently converted into the successes of Azerbaijan in various international organizations and initiatives. In particular, after a non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council in 2012-2013, Azerbaijan was elected by 176 votes as a member of the UN Economic and Social Council for 2017-2019. From 2019, Azerbaijan will assume presidency in the Non-Aligned Movement, the world’s second biggest international platform Azerbaijan joined in 2011.
The mere fact that a recent member of the Movement prepares to lead the organization is highly indicative. The significant progress made in advancing the cooperation with the European Union, as well as the consistent development of cooperation with NATO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the League of Arab States, the African Union and the Organization of American States, also creates a favorable background for representing and defending out national interests. At the same time, Baku takes the most active part in the interaction with the framework of international organizations it is a member of the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States, the CIS, GUAM, the Council of Europe and the BSEC are some of such multilateral formats.
Speaking about the place and role of Azerbaijan in the system of international relations, it should be noted that our country acts not only as an acceptor of signals transmitted from the main power centers, but also as an active producer making a tangible contribution to the definition of the global agenda. In recent years, Baku has established itself as one of the leading platforms for promoting the values of the dialogue of cultures, religions and civilizations. Launched at the initiative of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in 2008, the Baku process has become an effective factor in promoting the highest values of humanism at the global level.
It can be stated with full confidence that Azerbaijan diplomacy can be rightfully proud of the tumultuous century-old road it has covered. As President Ilham Aliyev said at the Global Baku Forum in 2018, “I think that if the founders of the first Democratic Republic had the chance to see how Azerbaijan develops today, they would have definitely been proud of us. We are proud of them. We demonstrate, first of all, to ourselves and also to the world that only during independence people can achieve success. Only when their destiny is in their hands, when they are masters of their fate they can be successful. Today’s Azerbaijan is a good demonstration of that.
Diplomacy of Vietnam and Azerbaijan: Similarities, development and important contributions to national construction
Opening a seminar “Diplomacy of Vietnam and Azerbaijan: Similarities, development and role in national construction” on March 12, Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ramiz Hasanov said July 9, 2019 marks 100 years of diplomatic service of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam and Azerbaijan have ceaselessly made efforts to boost bilateral relations.
Hasanov stressed that Vietnam is an important partner of Azerbaijan in Southeast Asia, expressed his belief that bilateral relations would develop to a new height.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son affirmed that Vietnam and Azerbaijan have enjoyed a close traditional relationship which has been nurtured by late Presidents Ho Chi Minh and Heydar Aliev and generations of leaders and people of both nations over the past five decades.
In the past, thousands of Vietnamese students were trained at Azerbaijani universities, making important contributions to Vietnam’s successes today.
Under the Soviet Union’s regime, hundreds of Azerbaijani military and civil experts voluntarily came to assist the Vietnamese people in the struggles for national defence and construction. There remained works and symbols in Vietnam bearing the hallmarks of traditional friendship and effective cooperation between Vietnam and Azerbaijan such as Vietsovpetro joint venture.
Son said over the past 25 years since the two countries officially established diplomatic relations in September 1992, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam and Azerbaijan have closely coordinated together, helping to strengthen political trust between the two nations. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s official visit to Vietnam in 2014 and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang’s official visit to Azerbaijan in 2015 laid a firm foundation for multifaceted cooperation between the two countries.
With their roles as coordinators of bilateral relations, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam and Azerbaijan have worked with ministries and sectors to deploy agreements reached by their senior leaders, gradually complete legal foundations for bilateral cooperation and expand cooperative ties in many fields such as trade, oil and gas, defence, education and training.-VNA