No:103/20, Speech by the Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the CIS through videoconferencing on May 12, 2020
On behalf of the Republic of Azerbaijan and on my own behalf, allow me to greet you, as well as the members of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the CIS, and express my gratitude to the initiator of this meeting, Chairman of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the CIS Abdulaziz Hafizovich.
First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the 75th anniversary of the victory over fascism in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. The people of Azerbaijan also made an important contribution to this common victory. The memory of everyone who contributed to the victory in the war, one of the most terrible wars in the history of mankind, will live forever. At the same time, I would like to emphasize that, we are particularly concerned about the heroization of the Nazi movement and those who cooperate with the Nazi movement in our region in any form, including the erection of monuments. As a result of our joint efforts, we consider it important to eliminate such disturbing tendencies.
I would like to note that, our today's meeting is taking place at a difficult time - amid coronavirus pandemic - COVID-19. A pandemic undoubtedly affects international activity. Due to the crisis, some meetings, visits, as well as international events were postponed. However, at the same time, we are witnessing the fact that many meetings are being held in a different format, as today - through video conferencing.
We are all witnessing that the pandemic has clearly demonstrated the need to increase the effectiveness of cooperation, mutual assistance, and coordination at the international level. COVID-19 has become a kind of test of the world's preparedness for the global crisis.
Azerbaijan plays an active role in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic both in the country and in the world. Demonstrating global solidarity, Azerbaijan has provided voluntary financial assistance to the World Health Organization in the fight against coronavirus in the amount of 10 million US dollars. Azerbaijan also provides financial and in-kind assistance to individual countries.
I would also like to bring to your attention information on the operational and preventive steps taken by Azerbaijan to prevent the spread of coronavirus within the country. In accordance with the prevailing conditions, restrictive measures have been taken. So, in February, an operational headquarters was created under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan to prevent the importation and spread of new coronavirus infection on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. From the beginning of March, the educational process in all educational institutions was phased out in the country. All mass events planned in the country were postponed or canceled. Since mid-March, a special regime was imposed, which included a series of measures of social isolation, and since the end of March - a special quarantine regime has been applied.
Today, the Government of Azerbaijan is taking all necessary measures to successfully overcome the unprecedented difficulties that have arisen. All resources of the state are mobilized and effectively implemented in achieving the goals set.
The evacuation of our citizens to their homeland, who found themselves abroad, has become one of the most important tasks in the crisis. For the time being, in the current situation, all necessary measures have been taken for return of our citizens from other countries. These measures are ongoing, and today about 20,000 Azerbaijani citizens have been returned to their homeland.
The result of periodically toughened restrictive measures was positive, and for the past three weeks, there has been a positive trend in Azerbaijan. I mean, there are more people who have recovered from the coronavirus than infected people. The relatively low mortality rate indicates that the work is carried out in a positive direction. Since May 4, Azerbaijan has proceeded to the second phase of the mitigation of restrictive measures.
I believe that the CIS is an important platform for discussing joint efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus infection, as well as for exchanging experience regarding the actions that we are taking at the national level, supporting each other at the right time and strengthening solidarity between our peoples.
Dear colleagues, the current agenda provides for the discussion of pressing issues in such areas of humanitarian cooperation as international youth cooperation, as well as the development of cooperation in the field of physical culture and sports. Azerbaijan pays great attention to these areas. Traditional close ties in the humanitarian sphere and in the field of culture are fertile ground for strengthening cooperation between our countries.
In this regard, I would like to note the importance of signing at today's meeting the Decision on the draft Strategy for the Development of Cooperation between the CIS member States in the field of physical culture and sports for 2021-2030. I am sure that this Strategy will allow us to significantly strengthen our cooperation in the field of physical culture and sports, to achieve important results in attracting citizens to physical culture and sports.
As it is know, in a very short time Azerbaijan has turned into a center of sports competitions, where events at the various international levels are held. The support provided by the state to sports, the implementation of state programs are highly appreciated by international sports structures.
Over the past five years, international events such as the European Games, Islamic Solidarity Games, including the World and European Championships, World Cups and Grand Prix competitions in many sports have been successfully held in our country. This year, we again started planning to hold prestigious sports competitions. Four matches of the European Football Championship, including one quarterfinal, are among them. However, in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has shifted the dates for the European Championship from 2020 to 2021.
I am confident that the decision “On the draft Strategy for International Youth Cooperation of the CIS member States for 2021-2030” adopted today will allow us to significantly expand international youth cooperation within the CIS, to more actively involve young people in solving the problems of socio-economic development of our countries.
Dear members of the Council,
The realities prevailing today in the world require effective interaction and coordination of efforts of all states in countering new challenges and threats to stability and security.
However, the unresolved conflicts existing in the Commonwealth space, in particular the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, do not allow to fully and effectively realize the integration potential within the Commonwealth and are the main obstacle to closer interaction of the CIS member states in countering new challenges and threats.
Recent statements by the Armenian leadership show that the Armenian side is doing its best to impede the activation of the process of peaceful settlement of the conflict, thereby creating new threats to regional stability and security.
Azerbaijan is committed to an early political settlement of the conflict. At the same time, negotiations cannot last forever and should not serve for continuing and maintaining the situation that arose as a result of the use of force, occupation, and ethnic cleansing.
I would like to remind once again that Azerbaijan has every right to restore its territorial integrity by all means within its internationally recognized borders, as enshrined in the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris and the well-known UN Security Council resolutions.
The earliest settlement of conflicts based on the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of the borders of states will undoubtedly contribute to strengthening regional and international security, social progress, and economic cooperation in the region.
Thank you for your attention.