Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement

Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement

Tehran, August 30-31, 2012

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to renew our deepest condolences to the people and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the recent devastating earthquake in the province of East Azerbaijan that claimed so many lives.

I want to thank the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the hospitality they are extending to me and my delegation. Let me also congratulate the Islamic Republic of Iran for the successful start of chairing of the Non-Aligned Movement. We wish Iran all the success in further strengthening the principles of the Movement during its chairmanship.

I would like also to use this opportunity to thank Egypt for its successful chairing of the Movement over the past three years. Under the Egyptian Chairmanship, the Non-Aligned Movement has definitely attained a great deal of progress in defending its principles and realizing its purposes.

We believe that the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement here in Tehran will bring forward more steps to address issues standing on our common agenda. Being the second largest political international organization after the UN, the NAM provides a broad and inclusive forum for political consultations and practical cooperation. In doing so, it has enabled member countries to make consistent efforts towards a more peaceful and secure international order. Some of the most important achievements of the twentieth century such as the success of the decolonization movement and the emergence of a global social development agenda are among the Movement’s impressive contributions to the world so far. Yet we all agree that there is still a long way to go to fully achieve purposes of the Movement.

Today’s meeting is taking place in an important period in the sense that the world community encounters the new emerging challenges and opportunities for the peace, security and sustainable development. The recent environmental, economic and social indicators demonstrate that the models for progress and development need to be modified and adapted. Conflicts, aggressive expansionist policies, environmental degradation, human rights abuses, financial crises coupled with the other threats such as terrorism, separatism, trans-national organized crime and extremism continue to affect millions of people around the world.

All these, without fail, bring about new tasks in our joint endeavor of the development of the South and re-emphasize the importance of building a greater solidarity, dialogue and cooperation within the Non-Aligned Movement.

Azerbaijan is committed to the letter and spirit of the NAM's purposes and principles. It carries out independent foreign policy and is not party to any military alliance. At the same time, Azerbaijan is a rapidly developing country with the Government that puts a special emphasis on democratization, fostering the respect for human rights and social justice. Azerbaijan has initiated development aid projects for several member nations of the Movement and we consider broadening those activities in the future, as well.

Contrary to what is being argued about the diminished role of the NAM after the end of the Cold War, today the Movement effectively pursues goals that remain relevant to tackling twenty-first century challenges. Its primary mission was and remains to maintain justice and equality in international relations, and to ensure respect for norms and principles of the international law. Likewise, we see the NAM as a forum that defends the right and freedom of sovereign nations to consider every issue on merit and take action against injustice irrespective of who perpetuates it. After all, when the fundamental right of a sovereign state for independent foreign policy is at stake, when aggression against territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of a sovereign nation is the case, the world community cannot afford to remain indifferent.

In that regard, Azerbaijan is thankful for the reiteration of the firm support by the NAM member states expressed in the Final Document for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan. This is one of critical junctures where the member nations have reiterated their strong devotion to the just cause of standing against notorious practice of aggression, occupation, ethnic cleansing and blunt violation of human rights of the refugees and IDPs.

We are confident that the provisions of the Final Document on regional and sub-regional issues, including those relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to the Syrian Arab Republic, will contribute to the settlement of the security problems and strengthen international and regional peace and security.

Azerbaijan signifies the role of taking concrete and practical steps to stimulate and enliven the cooperation and economic integration in the South-South direction. The NAM is the most relevant venue to discuss and define the ways and mechanisms for such cooperation. We are convinced that the relevant provisions of the Final Document concerning these very questions will be pursued in due course accordingly.

Increased commitment for cooperation, domestic reform and modernization, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms by the NAM countries and as well as a considerable progress in the South-South cooperation prepare the ground to maintain that the principles of the NAM are already among the fundamental guidelines for the international relations in the 21st century. Azerbaijan will continue its efforts to further advance the cause of the NAM for a world of enduring peace, security, justice and prosperity.

Thank you.

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