The Prague summit dealing with the 5th anniversary of the European Union`s Eastern Partnership programme stuck in memory with interesting moments. This forum, in some specified sense, can be called a report of states cooperating with the EU through this programme. More specifically, each country had to show the form it is involved in the programme. Azerbaijan spoke of the facts having a real effect on the relationships. There is no country in the South Caucasus whose actions are so constructive in this direction. President Ilham Aliyev once again rebuffed biased allegations of the Armenian leadership with his fair, objective and logical remarks.
Concrete contribution of Azerbaijan to Eastern Partnership
The 5th summit of the European Union`s Eastern Partnership programme in Prague was held smoothly as a whole. As some experts assumed there were no sensational decisions made on Moldova and Georgia. Remarks by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev can be regarded as the most interesting at the forum. Mentioning concrete elements of the country`s cooperation with the European Union, the Head of State also underlined the harm the double standards bring. In particular, Ilham Aliyev proved as unfounded what President of Armenia Sargsyan said in his speech.
The Head of Azerbaijan pointed out that he places emphasis on cooperation with the European Union. The democratic development is a priority for Azerbaijan. One of his major principles was expressed by the Head of State in a following way, ”The contemporary economic system must be complemented by the contemporary political system” (see: President Ilham Aliyev speaks at the Prague Summit dealing with the 5th anniversary of the European Union`s Eastern Partnership programme / AzerTAc, April 25, 2014). One of the strategic elements of the state building policy lies behind this thesis.
First of all, the economic system meeting the requirements of the present day should be created. This goal as such requires implementation of integrated economic reforms. This policy resulted in tripling the Azerbaijani economy. Poverty makes up just 5 %. Our foreign debt is just 8 % of GDP. Azerbaijan’s economy is placed 39th for competitiveness in the world.
The energy policy of Azerbaijan makes a serious contribution to the creation of the security system in a wider geopolitical area. The intensive work is being done to implement Trans-Anatolian and Trans-Adriatic energy projects, which are of great importance for Europe. These projects will ”change the energy map of Europe” (Ilham Aliyev). It means that new sources of energy will emerge in Europe in the coming 4-5 years. Official Baku attaches strategic importance to this process and is confident in one thing: ”strong partnership between Europe and Azerbaijan should be continued, so that we could implement important and mutually beneficial projects.”
With these words, President Ilham Aliyev expressed concrete content of cooperation of Azerbaijan – this South Caucasus nation pursuing an independent foreign policy – with the EU. This is an example for other countries of the region, which is recognized by experts too (see: ”У Армении нет места для маневра перед Россией, сочувствую армянскому народу” – Лилия Шевцова / ”1in.am”, 18 April 2014).
This line in foreign policy also shaped by Azerbaijan in the energy sector has always served the sovereignty of the state and formation of the global security system. A window of opportunity for regional cooperation is opening. It is the leadership of a state to blame if this state stays out of this process.
It is obvious that the deliberate and balanced foreign policy pursed by official Baku for many years is bearing fruits at a present crisis stage. This aspect already appears at forums of international organizations. Respectful relationship of western politicians to the arguments of the Azerbaijani leadership is one of its hallmarks.
Such elements were observed at the Prague summit of the European Union. Thus, after the President of Azerbaijan briefly and comprehensively described cooperation of the country with the EU, head of Armenia Sargsyan proved that his remarks full of biased ideological elements are ungrounded.
Response of Ilham Aliyev to the Armenian slander: triumph of justice
It appeared that the Armenian leader built all his speech on the anti-Turkish slogans. He switched from the fairy-tale on ”genocide” to the fact of the ”closed borders”. He alleged that these two facts are enough to prove that Turkey is not a European nation. In fact, official Yerevan tried to mask its hypocrisy since Sargsyan tried to ”provide rationale” for Armenia`s joining the Customs Union in September last year in Moscow. Since then, EU-Yerevan relations have hit the skids. Therefore, Sargsyan had nothing to say in Prague. With the anti-Turkish delusion, he tries to simultaneously obscure Armenia’s betrayal to Europe and portray Armenia in such a way that it craves for democracy.
We have to note that it is typical for Armenians to make such moves. They have concealed the truth for many years with such slanderous statements. But political resolution and brave arguments of the President of Azerbaijan prevented the Armenian slander this time. During his speech, Ilham Aliyev responded to Sargsyan on a professional level. The Head of State said, ”Unfortunately, the Armenian President has taken advantage of the opportunity to launch another attack on Turkey. It is easy to do so because there are no Turkish representatives around this table. But I am here…”
The world media expressed great interest in the Azerbaijani leader’s words. They were commented differently. In particular, the Turkish press highlights the fact of Ilham Aliyev`s protecting the fraternal country. It is all truth of course. But President of Azerbaijan first of all protects justice, democracy and restoration of the historical truth. Taking sides with anyone is out of question here since Ilham Aliyev suggested approaching objectively to the happenings.
For example, occupation of the Azerbaijani lands by Armenia must be taken as the event that led to concrete geopolitical consequences rather than just a formal fact. It is this real and concrete fact that caused respective steps of the neighboring Turkey against Armenia. Besides, there is no other intention in Ankara’s actions. We have to say that the Armenian side does not only refuse to recognize the truth and seek reconciliation but even demands to punish Turkey using their hoary fairy-tale on the ”genocide” for many years. Armenia continues to raise unfounded territorial claims against Azerbaijan and Turkey.
This was said by Head of our State Ilham Aliyev to restore the historical truth. It is clearly seen in the end of his speech: ”And finally, the last issue. The Azerbaijani people are asking one question: why isn’t Armenia faced with sanctions? Why isn’t the Armenian delegation deprived of the right to vote and to address the Council of Europe? They have occupied the territory of another country and are flagrantly violating the rules of international law and four resolutions of the UN Security Council, but are not faced with any sanctions and punishment. The fictitious representatives of the illegal and criminal regime in Nagorno-Karabakh receive visas to European capitals. This is unacceptable and must be stopped.”
This is all truth, reality we have to take into account and world`s politicians must know about in order to take a fair position. It can be seen that the Azerbaijani side’s position is fair within the framework of all conditions. This is why the prestige of the country is rising in the world and its voice is heard around the world. It was the main difference between Azerbaijan and Armenia shown in Prague. For this reason, Ilham Aliyev`s and Sargsyan`s mood after returning home was absolutely different – president of Azerbaijan as a supporter of truth and head of Armenia as an insincere politician whose lies and slander ended with a fiasco!