No:487/20, Press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the results of 2020

 

In 2020, as in all areas of activity, the system of international relations was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has forced countries to close their borders, international trade and financial markets have collapsed, and the world has faced one of the biggest socio-economic crises. Despite being one of the most difficult years for mankind, this year the Republic of Azerbaijan has successfully continued its foreign policy course based on national interests.

 

Patriotic War

On September 27, as a result of counter-attack by Azerbaijan in response to the another military provocation by Armenia, most of the occupied territories were liberated from Armenian occupation during the 44-day war. The victory, retained in the course of military operations, forced the occupiers to surrender, and on November 10, with the signing of a joint statement by Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia other occupied territories of Azerbaijan were also liberated. The role of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey should be particularly highlighted as guarantors of the November 10 agreement, that has created a new reality in the region and will ensure the long-awaited peace and stability.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared a detailed report on the use of mercenaries and foreign terrorist fighters by Armenia against Azerbaijan during the military battles in September-November and submitted it to UN member states, as well as relevant international organizations.

In order to prevent the provision of financial support to the illegal regime and armed groups established in our occupied territories through the funds created by the Armenian Diaspora organizations during the recent military aggression of Armenia against our country, a report on the organizations providing such support under the name of "charities", as well as the banks and financial institutions serving them, was prepared and submitted to the structures carrying out financial monitoring in the UN member states and relevant international organizations and strict measures were required against such funds and organizations whose activities are aimed at financing terrorism.

Also, during this period, as part of the new military aggression against Azerbaijan, regular reports on violations of international humanitarian law by Armenia, including targeting and killing of civilians, targeting of public and private property, civil infrastructure, and legal assessment of these acts, were prepared and submitted to all relevant international organizations, including the UN, as well as to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of States.

During the military operations, many countries and international organizations have expressed support for ensuring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, demanding the withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied territories and expressing solidarity with Azerbaijan.

It is necessary to emphasize the contribution of Turkey, which has always supported the right position of Azerbaijan in the 44-day Patriotic War and spared no high moral assistance. During this period of historical significance for Azerbaijan, the inviolability of the Turkey-Azerbaijan brotherhood and unity has once again become clear.

The unambiguous international support for Azerbaijan's just position during the difficult days was the result of a successful foreign policy pursued under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev on the principles of transparent, equal and mutually beneficial cooperation.

 

Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic

The Republic of Azerbaijan, which has established itself as a responsible and reliable partner in the international arena, has made a significant contribution to international efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, Azerbaijan has provided $ 10 million in voluntary financial assistance to the World Health Organization, also humanitarian and material assistance to ISESCO and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as well as more than 30 countries. It is no coincidence that the World Health Organization has called Azerbaijan an exemplary country in the fight against pandemics.

At the summit of the Contact Group of the Non-Aligned Movement dedicated to the fight against coronavirus and held on May 4 of this year at the initiative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, the proposal of the President of Azerbaijan to hold a special session of the UN General Assembly at the level of heads of state and government dedicated to the fight against coronavirus was supported by more than 150 UN member states, and a high-level segment of the special session on this topic was held on 3-4 December. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, initiated the convening of a special session as Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement in the opening part of the event, as well as in the course of public discussions in the national part. 37 heads of state and 40 heads of government, 67 ministers spoke at the general discussions of the special session, and the speakers thanked Azerbaijan for initiating the session.

The only country that did not support this goodwill and humane proposal of Azerbaijan was the Republic of Armenia, which also ignored the initiative of the UN Secretary General on a global ceasefire during the pandemic. Thus, in July of this year, Armenia resorted to military provocations in the direction of Tovuz on the Azerbaijan-Armenia international border with the main purpose to occupy new territories and target Azerbaijan's strategic energy infrastructure, and furthermore, in August, attempt by sabotage group of this country to cross the line of contact.

 

 

Parliamentary elections

In connection with the extraordinary elections to the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on February 9, 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent invitations to the international organizations, including the OSCE/ODIHR, the Council of Europe, the CIS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States and the BSEC to observe the elections. About 900 international observers observed the elections, including international observation missions, as well as bilateral observers from foreign countries. The statement and the final report of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission on the preliminary findings for these elections reflected such points as the work to ensure the voting rights of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons, the scale of the candidate registration process, the increase in the number of women candidates, good electoral management and etc.

 

Presidency in international organizations

In 2020, Azerbaijan chaired the Non-Aligned Movement, GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, as well as the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States.

During the year, our country's chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was successfully continued. On September 21, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, as Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, addressed a high-level event dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

An emergency meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Coordination Bureau was held on July 16, 2020 in relation to the military provocation committed by Armenia in the direction of Tovuz on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border, and a communiqué condemning the provocation was adopted. The agenda of the Non-Aligned Movement meeting held on October 9, 2020 in video-conference format in connection with the resumed act of military aggression by Armenia on September 27 includes an item entitled "Armed attack by the Republic of Armenia against positions of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan and civilian settlements along the entire front" and a Special Declaration was adopted under that clause. In the Special Declaration, the Non-Aligned Movement member states expressed concern over the renewal of the conflict in the framework of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, accompanied by losses among the civilian population, reiterated its principled support for resolving the conflict on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions, stressed their support for Azerbaijan's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and expressed their solidarity with the Republic of Azerbaijan on the basis of the principled position of the Movement.

In addition, the seven Non-Aligned Movement countries, non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, on October 19, 2020, during the closed-door UN Security Council consultations on the situation in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, as well as during the discussions on the draft statement of the Chairman of the Security Council on the issue, supported our country, based on the principled position of the Non-Aligned Movement on the conflict, and prevented the adoption of a biased statement on behalf of the Chairman of the Security Council.

Along with the Non-Aligned Movement, the Cooperation Council of Turkic States (CCTS) has also shown solidarity with Azerbaijan in preventing military aggression against Azerbaijan. In a statement on September 28, the Secretary General of the Cooperation Council of Turkic States stressed that the conflict should be resolved on the basis of the principles of Azerbaijan's sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders. In general, Azerbaijan's chairmanship in the CCTS was elected with high activity and efficiency. On April 10, 2020, at the initiative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, as the current Chairman of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, an extraordinary Summit of the CCTS was held via video conference dedicated to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. This summit was the first event in the world at the level of heads of state dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within the framework of Azerbaijan's chairmanship in the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development in 2020, numerous meetings and workshops were held in a teleconference format with the participation of the Agency's specialists from a number of government agencies in a wide range of areas of cooperation, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies, the State Customs Committee and the State Tourism Agency.

 

Economic cooperation

This year, special attention has been paid to the development of economic relations, energy security and the promotion of transregional infrastructure projects in the foreign policy activities that serve the comprehensive development strategy of Azerbaijan. The promotion of international trade relations, increasing the export potential and international competitiveness of local industry, the application of high technologies and innovations, as well as expanding cooperation within global and regional international economic organizations have been foreign economic policy priorities.

During the year, the projects "Framework Document on Cooperation between the UN and Azerbaijan for Sustainable Development for 2021-2025" and "UNDP Country Program Document for Azerbaijan for 2021-2025" were agreed, as well as it was decided, during the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to be held in 2021 under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council, that our country will present the next Voluntary National Review. Thus, Azerbaijan will be the first country in the region and the CIS to present a Voluntary National Review.

Meetings of the Intergovernmental Commissions with Lithuania, Ukraine, Italy, Korea and Hungary were held this year in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

Elections in international organizations

Activities to promote the candidates nominated by the Republic of Azerbaijan for elected positions in international organizations continued this year. As a result of the election campaign conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan was elected a member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for 2021-2024 on September 14, 2020 in New York. One of the significant aspects of the success of the elections is the election of the representative of our country to this body for the first time.

 

Humanitarian cooperation

In 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs successfully continued close cooperation with international and regional organizations responsible for promoting the principles of human rights and the rule of law.

In order to protect the rights of our compatriots suffering from the Armenian aggression against our country, effective action was taken within various international organizations, and the resolution "Missing Persons", which covers the issue of disappearances during the interstate armed conflicts, put forward by Azerbaijan at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, was adopted by consensus. In addition, at the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, a draft resolution entitled "Release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts", put forward by the authorship of our country, was adopted by consensus.

Along with active cooperation with international institutions in the field of human rights and the rule of law, great importance was attached this year to the promotion of intercultural dialogue. On September 21, 2020, for the first time, three cities of Azerbaijan - Baku, Ganja and Gabala - were elected members of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC). The main purpose of the network is to exchange experience in the field of education between member cities, to support the development of cities in the field of learning, as well as to promote prosperity and sustainable development. At the same time, a number of national and multinational nominations put forward by Azerbaijan during the year, including "Pomegranate Holiday, Traditional Pomegranate Festival and Culture" and "Miniature Art" were included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

 

Economic cooperation

Special attention has been paid to the development of economic relations, the ensuring energy security and the promotion of transregional infrastructure projects within the foreign policy activities that serve the comprehensive development strategy of Azerbaijan. The foreign economic policy priorities included the promotion of international trade relations, the increasing of export potential and international competitiveness of local industry products, the application of high technologies and innovations, as well as the expanding of cooperation within the global and regional international economic organizations.

The projects “Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework Document between UN-Azerbaijan in 2021-2025” and "UNDP Country Program Document for Azerbaijan for 2021-2025" were agreed upon during the year, as well as it was decided to submit the subsequent Voluntary National Review of our country during the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to be held in 2021 under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. Thus, Azerbaijan will be the first country within the region and the CIS to present a Voluntary National Review.

In coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meetings of the Intergovernmental Commissions were held this year with Lithuania, Ukraine, Italy, Korea and Hungary.

 

Elections in international organizations

Activities to promote the candidates nominated by the Republic of Azerbaijan for elected positions in international organizations continued this year. As a result of the election campaign conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been elected a member of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for 2021-2024 on September 14, 2020 in New York. One of the significant aspects of the success achieved in the elections is that the representative of our country was elected to the above-mentioned body for the first time.

 

Humanitarian cooperation

In 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs successfully continued close cooperation with international and regional organizations responsible for promoting the principles of human rights and the rule of law.

The effective activity has been conducted within the framework of various international organizations to protect the rights of our compatriots suffering from the Armenian aggression against our country. Proposed by Azerbaijan in the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, the resolution on “Missing persons” dealing with the issues of disappearances during the interstate armed conflicts was adopted by consensus. In addition, at the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, a draft resolution entitled “Release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts” was adopted by consensus.

The reciprocal repatriation of prisoners and hostages has been launched as a result of ongoing work with relevant international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, on the repatriation of the remains of our servicemen who lost their lives as the result of recent Armenian aggression, as well as prisoners of war and individuals detained in relation to the conflict on the basis of “all for all” principle. Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov, detained as hostages by Armenia since 2014, also returned to their homeland among Azerbaijani captives and hostages.

Along with active cooperation with international institutions in the field of human rights and the rule of law, great importance was attached this year to the promotion of intercultural dialogue. On September 21, 2020, for the first time, three cities of Azerbaijan - Baku, Ganja and Gabala - were elected members of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities. The main purpose of the network is to exchange experience in the field of education between member cities, to support the development of cities in the field of learning, as well as to promote prosperity and sustainable development.

At the same time, a number of national and multinational nominations put forward by Azerbaijan during the year, including "Pomegranate Holiday, Traditional Pomegranate Festival and Culture" and "Miniature Art", were included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

             

Multilateral and bilateral relations

During the current year, foreign policy activities continued in a number of multilateral and bilateral formats.

The Republic of Azerbaijan have signed 28 international agreements this year with the Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Hungary, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Serbia, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Italian Republic and the People's Republic of China.

According to the "Agreement on mutual visa exemption between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Republic of Turkey" signed on February 25, 2020 and entered into force in August, a 90-day visa-free stay is set for citizens of both countries. On December 10, 2020, "The Protocol No. 1 between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Republic of Turkey on Amendments to the Agreement on Mutual Visa Exemption between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Republic of Turkey signed on February 25, 2020 in Baku” was signed. After the entry into force of the above-mentioned Protocol, citizens of the two countries will be able to travel without a visa with a biometric ID card and other border documents and stay without a visa for 90 days. Thus, the Agreement, which allows the use of the ID card as a border crossing document, was signed for the first time in the history of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

In general, this year 37 international agreements with the Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan, Hungary, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Serbia, the United Mexican States, the Republic of Poland, Montenegro, the Republic of Korea, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Italian Republic, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Republic of Tajikistan have entered into force.

Interstate partnerships have been developed in the political, economic and humanitarian fields.

During the year, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan paid official and business visits to Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the Holy See, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan paid official and working visits to Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, Russia, Georgia, USA and Iran.

At the same time, in 2020, the Presidents of Turkey and Turkmenistan, as well as the Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Hungary and Russia paid official and working visits to our country.

On September 30, 2020, the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Republic of Cuba was established by the Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

 

Work with citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan living abroad

During the year, activities were continued to improve the legal status of citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan living abroad, to provide them with legal assistance in civil, family and criminal matters, and to eliminate the difficulties they face in foreign countries.

As a result of the evacuation process conducted in the direction of the repatriation of citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan from the Republic of Iraq in 2020, 194 children, citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan, staying in Iraqi prisons and orphanages returned to Azerbaijan and were placed under the care of relatives after appropriate rehabilitation.

In addition, more than 15,000 citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan willing to return to the Motherland from Iran, Turkey, Russia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, the United States and other countries were evacuated in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, Azerbaijan International Development Agency (AIDA) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan provided support to Azerbaijani students facing serious financial difficulties among evacuees in a number of countries, as well as each of more than 600 students living in 20 countries in extremely difficult situations were provided with a one-time financial benefit.

 

ADA University

Comprehensive information on a number of issues on the domestic and foreign policy agenda of Azerbaijan was presented to diplomats of 14 countries within the framework of the training course "Foreign Policy Program for Foreign Diplomats" held in a video conference format in cooperation with AIDA and ADA University on October 5-16.

ADA University, which operates under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has signed three dual degree programs this year: with George Washington University (USA) in Computer Science and Data Analytics; MBA-Master's program in Finance with MGIMO (Russia); Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with CEFAM University (France). In addition, ADA University has implemented academic projects with the University of Bergamo (Italy), the British Council (England) and the University of Kent (England). ADA University has launched new undergraduate programs in Finance, International Development, Communication and Digital Media.

 

The mission ahead

In 2021, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue its agile and pragmatic foreign policy in order to properly ensure the state benefits and national interests of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the international arena. The main efforts will be aimed to develop cooperation based on the principles of mutual respect and equality that meet our interests in bilateral and multilateral relations, to involve friendly countries and partner international organizations in the restoration of the liberated territories of Azerbaijan, to promote new cooperation and development initiatives in the region, as well as to the strengthening Azerbaijan's position and further enhancing its prestige in the international arena by ensuring the successful implementation of the large-scale regional infrastructure projects. Foreign policy will be based on the idea emphasized by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev that "the building relations with all countries on the basis of equality, mutual respect and trust is one of our main principles."

 

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