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National leader Heydar Aliyev is a political leader and statesman who became a historical personality

Interview with  Deputy head of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, chief of Foreign Relations Department Novruz Mammadov

Q: We are now on the eve of June 15, Salvation Day. National leader Heydar Aliyev, who returned to power at the people`s request, saved the country from collapse. How do you remember that period?

A: National leader Heydar Aliyev is a political leader and statesman who became a historical personality in the 20th century. Heydar Aliyev was there for his people at one of the most difficult and challenging points of its history. 

When Heydar Aliyev started leading Azerbaijan in 1969 Azerbaijan was one of the least developed republics. National leader set himself a goal of strengthening economic independence of Azerbaijan even within USSR. He managed to construct huge industrial complexes in the country.

Thus, national leader`s economic development strategy ensured free development of the country.

Of course, national leader Heydar Aliyev played an invaluable role in our centuries-long statehood history. His years in power - 1969-1989 - saw the strengthening of national spirit and national statehood idea.

"Economic independence is the essence of a nation`s political independence," national leader Heydar Aliyev said. He placed a particular importance on the country`s economic development during his both tenures as Azerbaijan`s leader. We can say with confidence that thanks to efforts of the national leader the years 1970-1980 marked radical socio-economic reforms in Azerbaijan, and the country, which was on the verge of collapse, overcame all difficulties.

Azerbaijan suffered serious problems in the first years of independence. The fact that the country faced the threat of losing independence was coupled with the inexperienced government`s activity. National leader Heydar Aliyev returned to Nakhchivan on July 22, 1990.

It is not a secret that national leader Heydar Aliyev has always paid attention to development of Azerbaijani economy, As a result of this, national leader both as a leader during Soviet era and while ruling Azerbaijan always put priority on development of economy.

Azerbaijan`s real independence begins with national leader Heydar Aliyev`s returning to power on June 15, which we mark as the National Salvation Day.

Q: What are the core principles of Azerbaijan`s foreign policy, whose foundations were laid by national leader Heydar Aliyev, and which is today being successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev?

A: In general, what lies at the heart of both domestic and foreign policy of Azerbaijan founded by national leader Heydar Aliyev is its independence, its being based solely in the interests of the Azerbaijani people and aimed solely at ensuring their prosperity and well-being. Heydar Aliyev`s domestic and foreign policy has stand the test of time. Not all world leaders can today benefit from close relations with other countries in the interests of their people. In most cases they are subject to various trends and other regional or global processes. This results in the dependence of their states on foreign circles.

But it`s another story in the case of Azerbaijan, which is pursing a truly independent policy in compliance with its national interests.

Another priority in Azerbaijan`s foreign policy is building equal, mutually beneficial relations with all the countries except for Armenia. Here, we attach a particular stress to close relations with neighboring states.

Another feature of Azerbaijan`s foreign policy is that it is multi-vector policy. As you know Azerbaijan has chosen the path towards European integration and closer relations with the West.

This allowed Azerbaijan to have attracted huge amounts of foreign investment in its economy. However, despite our close ties with the West, we maintain good relationship with the east. Azerbaijan enjoys excellent relations with China, Japan, South Korea.

Azerbaijan is also one of the most active members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The President`s recent visit to Vietnam once again proved that Vietnam regarded Azerbaijan its strategic partner.

Q: What is the role of foreign policy in preserving Azerbaijan`s development rate and ensuring domestic stability?

A: I can say that the most important achievement of Azerbaijan is that it managed to ensure stability despite being at war with a neighboring country. There are many hot spots around the world now. Many countries face challenges to their internal stability. But Azerbaijan, located in one of the most volatile regions in the world, managed to ensure its rapid growth and stability. This, of course, irritates some foreign circles. The reason is that Azerbaijan is an exemplary Muslim country. Azerbaijan is at the crossroads of the East and the West, the North and the South. Azerbaijan is the initiator and participant of globally important projects, the country is making an important contribution to the global anti-terror war. All this was possible thanks to Azerbaijan`s absolutely independent internal and foreign policy.

Q: Azerbaijani President has addressed a letter to members of the Eurasian Union. The Co-Chairs are visiting the region on a more frequent basis, and the negotiations now entered a very active phase. Doesn’t it mean that Armenia is pushed into deadlock now?

A: The Armenian leadership is now really in deadlock as they do not even have arguments to get stuck to their stalling tactics. On the other side, it is not clear what Armenia wants to do. As you know after three year cooperation with the European Union Serzh Sargsyan suddenly surprised the international community by stating that Armenia is going to join the Eurasian Union. It is almost impossible to forecast what the Armenian authorities` next step will be. On the other side, Armenia is trying, by all means, to continue its policy of aggression.

So taking this into account, the President of Azerbaijan addressed a letter to Azerbaijan`s partners, in which he laid out the country`s official position. In the letter, the President of Azerbaijan reiterated that the government of Armenia continues to occupy 20% of Azerbaijan`s lands, disregarding, for more than 20 years already, despite resolution of all international organizations, including the United Nations Security Council, demanding an unconditional and immediate withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijan`s occupied territories, as well as statements of the OSCE Minsk Group calling to change the status-quo.

And Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev`s addressing the Armenian leader is considered a sign of positive reaction to President Ilham Aliyev`s letter.

Armenia has no other choice. For more than 20 years Armenia has lived in difficult and isolated situation because of its won fault. The social, economic, demographic crisis is deepening in the country.

Another reason for the delay in eth settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the violence of the principle of justice in the system of international relations.