Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at the XVII Summit of the Heads of State or Government of the Non-Alignment Movement to be held on September 17-18, 2016, under the theme of “Peace, Security and Solidarity” in Isla de Margarita, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
President Nicolas Maduro,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I have the honor to join all previous speakers in their words of full solidarity and high appreciation to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Islamic Republic of Iran for their efforts as incoming and outgoing Chairs of the Non-Alignment Movement to advance the just cause and principles of our Movement.
Throughout its history, the Non-Alignment Movement has played a fundamental role in the strengthening international peace and security. During almost 50 years of its existence, the member states of our Movement have upheld the shared principles and values, and have shown ability to find a common ground for action that leads to mutual cooperation.
Our movement has been able to shape the concept of non-alignment as a positive and engaging endeavor. Some of the most important achievements of the twentieth century such as decolonization and the emergence of a global social development agenda are among the Movement’s impressive contributions to the world so far.
Yet, there is still a way to go until the long-standing goals of the Movement such as peace, development, economic cooperation and the democratization of international relations are ultimately realized.
We are all well aware that the recent global turbulences and political crises have been hitting mostly the developing world hindering their economic and social progress and thus, lowering human development indexes in these countries.
The Republic of Azerbaijan adheres itself to the spirit and principles of the Non-Alignment Movement. Located on the crossroads of the two major international transportation corridors – from North to South and from East to West, Azerbaijan always promotes development through political independence and economic cooperation, including South-South cooperation.
During the last decade, Azerbaijan has turned into one of the important players on the world market of energy and transport infrastructure development projects. Back in 2015, the leadership of the Republic of Azerbaijan was awarded with the 2015 South-South Award for the improvement of the welfare of the population, diminishing the illiteracy and poverty as well as the actions taken in the successful implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.
Rapid economic development enabled Azerbaijan to evolve into a donor country. Through the Azerbaijan International Development Agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Haydar Aliyev Foundation, the leading non-governmental charity organization in Azerbaijan, my country supported and implemented numerous social, humanitarian and development projects in a number of NAM countries.
We also attach a primary importance to developing intercultural dialogue, tolerance and mutual understanding between the nations. On April 25-27, 2016, Azerbaijan hosted 7th global forum of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. Moreover, we intend to host the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017, all of which we believe, will consequently serve the promotion of mutual harmony among cultures and religions within and beyond the borders of NAM.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Unfortunately, violence and conflicts still impede development and prosperity. It has been more than 20 years that Armenia has been persistently and blatantly violating the fundamental norms and principles of international law and using force against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. It has occupied about 20 per cent of the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan and ethnically cleansed almost one million Azerbaijanis, as a result of which no single Azerbaijani is left in Armenia or in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The four UNSC resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884 of 1993), which condemn Armenia’s aggressive policy and demand immediate, unconditional and full withdrawal of Armenian occupation forces from Azerbaijan, have not been fulfilled yet.
The unequivocal position by the international community is essential for removing such grave threats to the international peace. In that respect, Azerbaijan is grateful for the reiteration of the solid support by the NAM member states articulated in the Final Document for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan. This is a clear manifestation of the Member States’ strong adherence to the Bandung principles and represents their firm stand against notorious practices of aggression, occupation, ethnic cleansing and blunt violation of human rights of the refugees and IDPs.
Today, I am honored to deliver a speech here on behalf of my President His Excellency Mr. Ilham Aliyev and the state of Azerbaijan who is going to take up the next Chairmanship of the Movement in three years from now. The XVIII summit to be held in Baku in 2019 will be quite symbolic as the European continent will be honored again with the opportunity to host Heads of State and Government of NAM Member States 30 years past the 1989 Belgrade Summit. I avail myself of this opportunity to extend our cordial invitation to all Heads of State and Government of NAM Member States to attend the next summit.