Baku, July 13, AZERTAC
A Mid-Term Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement has today been held in a video format.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev’s statement in a video format was presented at the event.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
I would like to greet all participants of the Mid-term Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement.
This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of our Movement, being the largest political institution after the UN General Assembly. Complex global challenges have further increased the relevance of our Movement as advocating for peace, multilateralism and global solidarity lies in the core of the NAM.
The historic “Bandung principles” promoting respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity of all countries, non-interference in the internal affairs, among others, fully coincide with Azerbaijan’s foreign policy priorities.
Therefore, 10 years ago, Azerbaijan joined the NAM family. In a short period of time, our country gained great respect and confidence in the Movement. In 2016, we were entrusted to chair the NAM for the term of 2019-2022 with a unanimous decision of all Member States.
In October 2019, Azerbaijan successfully held the 18th NAM Summit in Baku where we took over the chairmanship. In my statement at the Summit, I stressed that Azerbaijan would take tangible steps to protect the legitimate interests of the NAM countries in the international arena, and to defend justice and international law.
Azerbaijan had adopted a comprehensive and ambitious Action Plan for its chairmanship. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, bringing with it new realities and challenges. However, we were able to react to the new situation quickly and adequately. We concentrated our efforts on developing effective and united international response of the Movement to the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic.
In this regard, as the chair of the NAM, Azerbaijan put forward a number of global initiatives to mobilize global efforts against the pandemic. We initiated and held the Summit of the Contact Group of the NAM on 4 May 2020. Along with the cross-regional membership of the Contact Group, the Online Summit was also attended by UN Secretary General, the President of the UN General Assembly, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Chairman of the African Union Commission, the High Representative of the European Union and Vice-President of the European Commission.
As a practical outcome of the NAM Online Summit, a database encompassing the basic humanitarian and medical needs of NAM Member States was created. The World Health Organization uses this database as a reference point for identifying the existing needs of NAM Member States in addressing the pandemic.
During the Summit, I suggested, on behalf of the NAM, the convening of the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in response to coronavirus at the level of the heads of state and government. Overall, more than 150 UN Member States supported this initiative and the Special Session took place on 3-4 December 2020.
Azerbaijan has provided humanitarian and financial assistance to more than 30 countries, including NAM countries, to support their fight against the pandemic. Azerbaijan has also made voluntary financial contributions to the World Health Organization in the amount of $10 million, half of which was earmarked for NAM Member States.
In the face of global health crisis, the "vaccine nationalism" is worrisome. Azerbaijan has publicly criticized the conduct of some countries that stockpile far more vaccines than they require. So far, more than 82 percent of the world’s vaccine doses have been purchased by wealthy countries, while only 0.9 percent have gone to low-income countries. Such an attitude hinders the ability of developing, in particular least developed countries to protect their populations.
To address this problem, Azerbaijan, on behalf of the NAM initiated a resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council on ensuring equitable, universal access to vaccines for all countries, which was unanimously approved this March.
Moreover, we have used every occasion to urge developed countries and international donor organizations to provide assistance to developing, in particular least developed countries against the pandemic.
Taking into account the cross-cutting nature of challenges, Azerbaijani Chairmanship has held online meetings of ministers of health, ministers of labor. We are also planning to convene meetings of other line ministries including those in charge of communication, education.
Based on the mandate given at the NAM Baku Summit, Azerbaijani chairmanship explores the possibility of setting up an institutional network for the NAM youth. Likewise, Azerbaijani chairmanship intends to develop the parliamentary dimension of cooperation among NAM Member States.
In my statement at the Baku Summit, I highlighted that developing dialogue of the NAM with other institutions and expanding the geography of its cooperation would be among priorities of Azerbaijan’s chairmanship.
I am glad to state that the Azerbaijani chairmanship succeeded to create bridges with other international institutions. The first time in the history, leaders of the European Union attended the above-mentioned NAM Online Summit. Later, the EU Member States supported NAM’s initiative to convene the special session of the UN General Assembly. NAM and EU have also been engaged in cooperation within the UN Human Rights Council on a number of issues.
Azerbaijan has raised unified voice of the NAM and actively defended the Movement’s interests in all possible international platforms. Azerbaijan will continue taking concerted efforts to strengthen the solidarity within the NAM, and to advance the Movement’s position and influence in the international arena.
The Movement must take strong, cohesive and targeted actions about the post-Covid-19 period as well. In this regard, it would be useful to convene a high-level meeting of the NAM Member States to exchange views and formulate the position of the Movement concerning the pandemic recovery phase. Taking into account the complexity of the challenges stemming from the pandemic, it would be reasonable for the NAM to advocate for establishing a UN High-Level Panel on Global Recovery from the Covid-19. This Panel could prepare recommendations on global measures to have the world recover better from the pandemic.
The year of 2020 was remarkable for Azerbaijan, as one of the important items on Movement’s Agenda was successfully resolved. As you know, Armenia, for about 30 years, kept under occupation almost 20 % of the territory of our country. Armenia conducted ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis. More than one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs. Armenia committed Khojaly genocide in February 1992, killing hundreds of civilians including 106 women and 63 children. Khojaly genocide has been recognized by 13 countries.
The UN Security Council adopted four resolutions in 1993 demanding immediate, complete, and unconditional withdrawal of the armed forces of Armenia from Azerbaijan’s occupied territories. Other influential international organizations, including Non-Aligned Movement, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and OSCE have also adopted similar decisions and resolutions. However, the demands of leading international organizations were ignored by Armenia. Thus, the sole aim of Armenia was to keep the status-quo and consolidate the occupation.
During the recent years, Armenia was deliberately destroying the negotiation process, threatening Azerbaijan with a new war for new territories. In 2020, Armenia three times resorted to military provocations along the state border and the former line of contact, killing our military personnel and civilians.
Last September Armenia launched a large-scale military attack against Azerbaijan. In response to this aggression Azerbaijani Army conducted a counter-attack operation and liberated a large part of occupied territories.
Totally defeated in the course of the 44-day Patriotic War, Armenia had to sign an act of capitulation on 10 November 2020. Accordingly, Armenia was obliged to withdraw its troops from the remaining part of Azerbaijan’s territories. Azerbaijan, itself, ensured the implementation of the abovementioned UN Security Council resolutions.
Thus, Azerbaijan resolved the 30-year-long conflict and restored its territorial integrity and historical justice by military-political means. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was left in the past.
The glorious victory of Azerbaijan is a triumph of international law, justice, and the NAM values.
We highly appreciate the constant support of the NAM countries to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan in line with international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
In the Final Document of the Baku Summit, NAM countries underlined the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, reaffirmed that no State shall recognize as lawful the situation resulting from the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan.
In July 2020, the NAM adopted a communique on the military provocation of the Armenian armed forces at the state border. Furthermore, during the Patriotic War, at the online Ministerial Meeting in October 2020, the Special Declaration was adopted. In these documents the NAM countries once again supported just position of Azerbaijan and expressed their solidarity with Azerbaijan in the efforts aimed at restoration of its territorial integrity.
Here, I would like to highlight one specific development happened during the Patriotic War. There have been attempts by some members of the UN Security Council to adopt one-sided statement which would neglect the UN Security Council resolutions of 1993. However, in the Security Council discussions, seven NAM countries, in support of Azerbaijan’s position insisted to insert the reference to the abovementioned Security Council resolutions to the negotiated text.
Such resolute stance by those NAM countries demonstrated their commitment to the “Bandung principles” and the Movement’s values. We perceived their position as a historic gesture of friendship in our bilateral relations.
During the time of occupation Armenia deliberately destroyed cities and villages, all cultural and religious sites of Azerbaijan in the occupied territories. Even the graveyards were not spared. The aim of Armenia was to erase the traces of Azerbaijani people living in these territories for centuries. Our mosques were used as stables for pigs and cows. Aghdam city was destroyed to that extent that it is called as "Hiroshima of Caucasus". After the liberation, our Army could not find a single building in Fuzuli city to raise the Azerbaijani flag. All of them were destroyed by Armenia.
The visits of diplomats and international journalists are regularly organized to the liberated territories. They have witnessed the barbarism committed by Armenia. International media has documented and broadcasted the facts of deliberate destruction and desecration of cultural and religious heritage of Azerbaijani people, full destruction of cities and villages.
I will send to my colleagues an illustrative book which contains brief information and photos of our towns and villages before and after the occupation reflecting the total destruction of all religious and historic monuments of Azerbaijan.
We have already started the reconstruction of the liberated territories. We are applying the modern urban planning there. The liberated territories of Azerbaijan will become a green energy zone.
I am confident that Azerbaijan will demonstrate a rare experience in transforming destroyed vast territories, which is four times bigger than the territory of Luxembourg, to the area of prosperity with high living standards.
Recently, I defined the Five National Priorities on socio-economic development of the country for the next ten years. The return of hundreds of thousands of IDPs to their homeland in dignity and safety is, among others, our key priority.
However, the main challenge is the mines planted by Armenia in large quantities. Since the signing of the capitulation act by Armenia on 10th of November 2020, almost 30 Azerbaijani citizens were killed and around 100 citizens were wounded. Furthermore, it slows down the reconstruction process in liberated territories and return of IDPs to their homes.
The demining of these vast territories takes a lot of time and resources. Armenia refuses to release the mine maps. The international community must force Armenia to provide Azerbaijan with mine maps of all liberated territories.
In conclusion, I would like to assure you once again, that Azerbaijan will do its utmost for contributing to increasing international influence of the NAM, to strengthening solidarity within the Movement and defend justice and international law.
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