Elmar Mammadyarov: Ladies and gentlemen! As you know, my friend, brother, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Djibouti Mahmoud Ali Youssouf is on a visit in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijan-Djibouti relationship has a long history. After Azerbaijan gained its independence when a resolution on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was discussed in the UN Security Council in 1993, Djibouti’s then permanent representative to the UN made big efforts for the adoption of the resolution. It is sorry that he is not alive at the moment. Djibouti was a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council that time. At today’s meeting I expressed my gratitude to my colleague, as well as the people of Djibouti for that. As you may know, the parliament of Djibouti has adopted a resolution condemning in strongest terms the Khojaly genocide recently. Besides, our cooperation with Djibouti is continued within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. We must expand the cooperation in economic, humanitarian and cultural fields, as well. Today, we talked about a number of joint projects. Some of them are being implemented; some are in their initial stage. Our civil aviation is interested in opening a cargo flight to Djibouti. Our delegations made visits to Djibouti and had discussions there. The leadership of the Djibouti Port and Free Economic Zones had a visit to Azerbaijan in order to get acquainted with our experience. At the same time, the leadership of the Baku International Sea Trade Port made a visit to Djibouti.
Then Mr. Minister raised the issue of opportunities for studying of Djiboutian citizens in Azerbaijan. The Djiboutian side is particularly interested in making experts in the field of information technologies. Also, my counterpart requested assistance of Azerbaijan in case of natural disasters and emergency situations in Djibouti.
Today we signed a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs. The geographic location of Djibouti is very strategic. We had an exchange of views on the situation in the regions where Djibouti and Azerbaijan are located. We also talked about the development and assistance programs. As you know, the Azerbaijan International Development Agency (AIDA) of MFA is implementing assistance programs in North Africa. The Azerbaijani doctors are doing the medical treatment of eyes in 12 African countries. We discussed the issues of providing medical equipment, medical aid and implementing joint assistance programs with Djibouti.
Question (Caspian Broadcasting Company): First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for the resolution condemning the Khojaly genocide adopted in the Djiboutian parliament. My question is about economy. The cooperation in the economic field with Djibouti is developing. As we know, the Azerbaijani companies intended to participate in the construction of the new airport in Djibouti. How is it going forward? Also, what about is the agreement signed between AZAL and the respective body of Djibouti? What kind of issues does it cover? And it was planned to establish a joint cargo company between Djibouti and Azerbaijan. How is it going forward?
Elmar Mammadyarov: I would like to add a point. We consider Djibouti as a great hub in Africa. Therefore, the agreements signed between our respective bodies, including AZAL and Baku International Sea Trade Port will create opportunities for transportation of goods not only at bilateral and also international level.
Question (APA): I have two questions. Mr. Minister, you will make an official visit to Russia in March. What kind of discussions will you have regarding the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict there? This year is the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Russia. Is it planned to hold events on that? Generally, how do you assess the current status of Russia-Azerbaijan relationship? Do the Minsk Group co-chairs plan to make a visit to the region? Which country will the visit start from? Recently, it is observed the escalation of the situation in the contact line. What could you say about that?
Elmar Mammadyarov: Yes, I am going to visit Russia in March. First, I intend to meet with my counterpart Sergey Lavrov and we will discuss the issues of cooperation both on the bilateral basis and also within international organizations. Then there will be a meeting in the Cabinet of Ministers on the activity of the Inter-Governmental commission. Probably, I will also have a meeting in the State Duma of Russia. The Russian side proposed me to make a speech in the Diplomatic Academy. I accepted the proposal with great pleasure. I myself studied there. It is my pleasure to make a speech there. Also, I was proposed to participate with S.Lavrov in the opening ceremony of an exhibition on the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Unfortunately, we don’t have optimist news on the conflict yet. You have seen the statements of the Armenian side. Every time they blame Azerbaijan and say that it is the position of international organizations. But if you analyze the situation, you can see that all international organizations unanimously recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The conflict must be settled by peaceful means. And it is clear to everyone who undermines it. We could have gone forward if they had accepted this plan. Russia is one of the Minsk Group co-chair countries. I will touch upon this issue at the meeting, as well. We will discuss about which steps must be taken in order to change the current status-quo. In my interview to Ria-Novosti I clearly stated how the issue must be settled. There is even a written plan. This was discussed line by line in Presidents’ Sankt-Petersburg meeting. Everyone knows which plans are on the table to achieve the progress in the settlement of the conflict. We know that it is not impossible to solve the problem within one day. First of all, the occupying forces have to be withdrawn. And the co-chairs will make a visit in March. Yesterday, I talked to them. They want to visit both Baku and Yerevan. Probably, we will make a statement on that soon. The visit of co-chairs to the region is planned.
Question (APA): My question goes to the foreign minister of Djibouti. The position of Russia and the international organizations on the conflict are clear And everybody knows about the resolutions. What kind of measures could Djibouti take in order to urge the international community to make Armenia to implement those resolutions? What steps not only Djibouti, and also the international community overall should take?
Elmar Mammadyarov: I share the same stance with my colleague. When the resolutions, especially the resolutions 822 and 853 on the conflict were adopted in the UN, they also had time-table on withdrawal of the occupying forces. There were other issues in the resolutions as well. But as an essential issue it was demanded the withdrawal of troops. If someone says the resolutions are about the cease-fire, make mistake. As Mr. Minister mentioned the problem is their implementation. Some resolutions are immediately implemented, but some of them are delayed for years. We appreciate highly the position of Djibouti on the conflict.
Full video of the joint press conference can be obtained from the following link