Ilham Aliyev received in a video format Jeyhun Bayramov on his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs

16 July 2020, 16:00
Ilham Aliyev received in a video format Jeyhun Bayramov on his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received in a video format Jeyhun Bayramov due to his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The head of state made a speech at the video meeting.

Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- I am appointing you to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs today. I am sure that you will justify this high confidence placed in you. Although this area is new to you, you have quite a lot of managerial experience, have worked in various positions, including that of a minister.

Along with this, I have repeatedly determined the main directions related to the foreign policy of Azerbaijan and made statements about this. Our foreign policy is open. We openly declare our foreign policy priorities and pursue a consistent policy to achieve our goals. Building equitable relations with all countries based on mutual respect and trust is one of our main priorities. I believe that Azerbaijan has made great strides in this area in recent years. Azerbaijan is a worthy member of the world community. Respect for us in the world is growing. This is evidenced by the support that the international community provided to Azerbaijan at different times. Our role in the world is growing. The implementation of any project in the region is impossible without the participation of our country and respect for its interests. Thanks to our policy, Azerbaijan has acquiring more and more friends over the years. It is no coincidence that our international positions are quite strong today.

Of course, I will once again highlight the main priorities related to foreign policy today. But first I want to say that, first of all, it is necessary to improve the situation in the ministry's system. First of all, it is necessary to analyze it and take tangible measures to eliminate the shortcomings. In the area of personnel policy, preference should be given not to personal acquaintances, sympathies or friendships, but professionalism, patriotism and national values. It is necessary to nominate professional people attached to the Motherland, educated and capable of adequately defending the interests of Azerbaijan. The ministry should ensure adequate coordination between different departments, including senior officials. I will wait for your proposals on additional measures related to the ministry's activities.

It is necessary to seriously analyze the work of our foreign missions and determine the efficiency of our embassies. People working in our embassies are sometimes indifferent to their work, are passive, cannot protect and ensure the interests of our country at the proper level. They cannot communicate the truth about our country to the general public or do not want to do so. They cannot give a proper answer to the slanderous accusations that are periodically leveled against Azerbaijan or do not want to do so. Therefore, all these questions, of course, should take an important place in your daily activities. Our representatives abroad, diplomats must fully ensure the interests of the country. I can say that most of our diplomats working abroad meet high criteria. But when analyzing the situation, first of all, you should pay attention to shortcomings. Our embassies should be in close contact with Azerbaijani communities living and operating abroad. They should contribute to the coordination of diaspora organizations so that both diaspora organizations and embassies ensure the interests of Azerbaijan and communicate Azerbaijani realities.

Close contacts with foreign media are necessary. It is necessary to respond to the false reports sometimes published about Azerbaijan immediately and effectively, not for the sake of formality, but in many cases we do not see this. Without my intervention, the rumors about our country that are deliberately circulated and have no basis are not refuted. They either do not want to do this or they receive other instructions. It is no secret that an organized and coordinated dirty campaign is being waged against Azerbaijan these days. The people of Azerbaijan are well aware of the source and reasons for this campaign. There are many reasons for this, and one of them is that we pursue an independent policy based on national interests and our conduct is dignified. Is there an adequate response to this campaign? There is not. Some anti-national elements abroad with their activities, dirty deeds and statements grossly violate the laws of the countries in which they live, call for terror and strive to change the constitutional order. All these are issues enshrined in the legislation, including the Criminal Code, not only of Azerbaijan, but also of many countries. Therefore, the people committing these crimes should be prosecuted.

But do our diplomatic missions abroad pay any attention to this issue? I can say that they don’t. They don’t want to get involved or spoil relations with someone. Sometimes they protect the interests not of Azerbaijan, but of the countries they work in, in order to show their good side to their high-ranking representatives.

I want to say again that we are taking specific steps to form normal friendly and partner relations with all countries. But this does not mean that the interests of our own country and people should remain on the sidelines. Some of our diplomats abroad are turning into envoys of the countries in which they work. This must end. This is also a manifestation of erroneous personnel policy. Some diplomats have betrayed the state, committed treason and are not concealing it. They are controlled by the secret services of the countries they live in. We have sufficient information. The overwhelming majority of elements that are currently waging a dirty campaign against Azerbaijan and posing as Azerbaijanis but actually act worse than the Armenians are controlled by secret services of the countries they live in. They receive money and instructions from them. We have enough information on this issue. Our intelligence agencies have repeatedly informed the intelligence agencies of partner countries about this. We say that we know that you are directing such a person, have given someone a home and the dirty speeches of such a person are written in your institution. We know all this. I want to say again that this is evidence of the hypocrisy of these countries. I have spoken about this many times. On the one hand, they send us friendly signals, talk about partnership in person but actually campaign against us. The purpose of this is to weaken Azerbaijan, shake it up, tarnish and spread utter lies about the leaders of Azerbaijan. But life is already showing that it is absolutely pointless because the Azerbaijani people know everything perfectly well. They know that the interests of the Azerbaijani people are above everything else for us. This is probably why such dirty methods are sometimes used against us. You know, the content and form of such methods have changed at different times. At one time, we were attacked through “independent” nongovernmental organizations. Everyone is well aware of the sources financing these non-governmental organizations. They are financed by foreign policy bodies of large states. For a certain period of time, a dirty campaign against us was carried out by the media of foreign countries – both electronic and print media. We know what sources finance these media. This did not give them anything. On the contrary, the Azerbaijani public was well aware and understood that the objective of this was to weaken Azerbaijan, create chaos in the country, return it to the early 1990s and then, taking advantage of the situation, use these opportunities in their own interests. When this did not work either, they resorted to other dirty methods. The anti-national elements which represent Azerbaijanis but have actually turned into a symbol of moral ugliness, under the leadership of foreign secret services, are waging a dirty campaign against Azerbaijan. This is a thought-out policy the purpose of which is to undermine national values the Azerbaijani people have preserved over the centuries, undermine our moral foundations because the mentality of the Azerbaijani people is against this. Never before in our history have such dirty methods, lies and slander been used against us. This is imported here from outside. Therefore, our diplomats need to act against this. You cannot work according to the principle “do not touch me and I will not touch you”. Unfortunately, this principle has recently played a major role in our Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I have said that our diplomacy should be offensive, it is necessary to fully ensure our national interests. However, we often see the opposite. We see that the principle of conciliation is taken as a basis, that efforts are made to please someone at the expense of our national interests. I have sufficient information about this. Therefore, keep these questions in the spotlight. We need diplomats who have professionalism, national spirit, are attached to national values and can defend our country.

As for our main priorities related to foreign policy, I must note that I have spoken quite a lot about them. I want to say that again today. As a new minister, you should hear this from me again, and so should the Azerbaijani public. Relations with neighboring countries are a priority for us. They are built on a very sound basis. Life and the course of events show that this is a very correct policy. The policy of neighboring countries towards Azerbaijan is also very positive. We have built this policy on the principles of friendship and good neighborliness. Thus, we have no problems with any neighboring state, of course, with the exception of Armenia. The problems left over from the past have been resolved. Certain circles in some countries have tried to artificially invent some problems, but this is also absolutely useless.

Our relations with neighboring states are of a strategic nature. We live in the same region, we are neighbors and this neighborhood will be eternal. At the same time, the Azerbaijanis living in neighboring countries, of course, occupy a special place in these relations and their tranquility is naturally very important for us. From this point of view, relations with neighboring countries are also of particular importance. These relations can be assessed highly in all spheres – political, economic, energy, transport, cultural. I can say that our relations with neighbors are exemplary, as the processes taking place in the world show that relations between neighbors may be a problem.

As you know, we also carry out activities with neighboring countries in the format of trilateral cooperation. I must say that we also initiated the trilateral format. Today, the format of trilateral cooperation in various configurations is carried out with all our neighbors, which, on the one hand, has a positive impact on regional security and, on the other, creates a fertile ground for the implementation of economic, energy and transport projects. Therefore, relations with neighboring countries will continue to be a priority in the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We also have very good relations with the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Azerbaijan is a part of the Muslim world and Muslim countries receive the greatest support from us in international organizations. They also support us the most. Recently, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation issued a statement in connection with yet another military provocation of Armenia and supported the fair position of Azerbaijan. We highly appreciate that. Many events have been held in Azerbaijan under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. I have participated in many summits and paid attention to the development of cooperation, solidarity in the Islamic world in my speeches and activities. I made effort for this. Azerbaijan is making every effort to soften or eliminate the differences between some Muslim countries. In some cases, these efforts lead to good results because, first of all, the Muslim world needs solidarity so that we can build our future with traditional friends on a sound basis.

Turkic-speaking states are brotherly countries for us. We have excellent relations with all Turkic-speaking states. As you know, Azerbaijan is currently chairing the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States. I should also note that the summits of Turkic-speaking countries have been held for many years. Summits began to be held immediately after Azerbaijan and other post-Soviet countries gained independence. The Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States as an organization was established in the city of Nakhchivan. The organization was established at one of the summits held in Azerbaijan, Nakhchivan, and is currently building up its potential. I should also note that the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States also issued a statement in support of Azerbaijan in connection with the recent border conflict.

Our ties with the European Union also rest on a solid foundation. Azerbaijan has signed documents on strategic partnership with nine member states of the European Union. This is one third of the European Union. Currently, work is underway on a new agreement between the European Union and Azerbaijan. A significant part of the agreement has been agreed. You will address this issue immediately and pay attention to issues that have not yet been agreed upon. I believe that Azerbaijan has shown maximum constructivism. There are still some uncoordinated issues today. I can say that it will be very difficult and meaningless for us to accept this in its current form, because I said that we must sign a new agreement in order to better protect and ensure our interests, just like the opposite side. They want to sign this agreement with Azerbaijan in order to protect and secure their own interests. And this is natural. However, these interests must be combined. In other words, we will never sign an agreement that does not suit us or that could create a problem for us. This is meaningless and doesn't matter. We must inform the Azerbaijani people about why we are doing this. We are doing this so that there are better conditions, better opportunities for cooperation, so that there are more opportunities for our people. It would be wrong to sign an agreement just for the sake of signing it. Our position is absolutely open. I am declaring this to the entire public today.

I believe that there is room for a compromise. But this requires good intention and mutual determination. The Azerbaijani side has this determination. I do hope that the negotiations continue successfully. It is also necessary to take into account that a new composition of the European Commission has emerged now and we, of course, should more accurately determine for ourselves the status of the attitude of the European Union to Azerbaijan. From the very beginning, we adhered to the position that you should not set unrealistic goals for yourself, because when you do not achieve these goals later, this causes disappointment and mutual distrust. Therefore, it is necessary to set goals that can be achieved, and these goals should be in our interests. I believe that further activities in this direction will also be successful.

Naturally, our relations with the United States of America are of great importance. They have a long history. There are excellent results in the political, economic, energy and security spheres. America appreciates the efforts Azerbaijan is making in the peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan. As you know, a very important transport corridor called the Northern Transport Corridor passes through Azerbaijan. In fact, this is an air corridor, and safe transportation of goods is very important for any country today.

As for the development of our political relations, I believe that these relations are at a very good level today. Many letters President Trump has sent me reflect the good attitude of the United States of America towards Azerbaijan. In his latest letter, he noted that our two great states will continue to interact.

The letters I have sent to President Trump also highlight the importance of our relationship. I am confident that these ties will continue to develop successfully in the future. I believe that the future of these ties is very positive.

Great Britain is our strategic investor. We also have a very close partnership with the UK. Earlier we analyzed and assessed these relations through the prism of the European Union. But Great Britain is no longer a member of the European Union now. Our mutual interest in each other is growing every day. British company BP is our strategic partner. Last year we already celebrated the 25th anniversary of this partnership and will interact for at least another 25-30 years. Of course, this has had a positive impact on bilateral relations. But both sides believe that we should work more in the non-oil sector. In a word, these connections are also very important for us.

As you know, we are currently chairing the Non-Aligned Movement and secured this chairmanship by a unanimous decision of 120 countries. When accepting the chairmanship, I said that it would not be formal in nature. We will support the interests of the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as international law and justice, in all international organizations, and have really done that. During the pandemic, summits of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States were held on our initiative. We have provided humanitarian assistance to the member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement, both directly and through the World Health Organization. On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, we initiated the holding of a special session of the UN General Assembly. As you know, more than 130 countries have joined this initiative. I consider this yet another political success of ours.

Of course, the bulk of your work will be associated with the resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. This is the key issue for us, it is a national issue. As a result of the measures taken in recent years, all international organizations have expressed their position on this issue. Whereas during the conflict the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions, subsequently all other organizations also adopted similar decisions and resolutions: the OSCE, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement, NATO and other organizations. The “Partnership Priorities” document initialed between the European Union and Azerbaijan two years ago also contains a special clause related to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of our country's borders. So the legal framework is fully secured.

As for the settlement of the conflict, as I have already noted, there can be no changes in our position. Nagorno-Karabakh is our historical land, and the territorial integrity of our country must be restored. This is unambiguous, and no country recognizes the self-styled “Nagorno-Karabakh republic”. The so-called “elections” held there recently confirmed this once again because all leading states, neighboring states and leading international organizations have made statements in connection with the non-recognition of these “elections”.

As far as the negotiations are concerned, I want to say again that we do not intend to conduct negotiations for the sake of negotiations or to hold pointless video conferences. There must be a meaning to that. I said that the Minsk Group should be very active. As part of their mandate, it should not only deal with ensuring a ceasefire on the line of contact or on the state border, but make sure that negotiations are held on the substance, and there is already a framework that has formed over many years. However, Armenia undermines the structure of all these negotiations with its destructive actions, non-constructive statements and war crimes on the border and the line of contact. Armenia is trying to change the format of negotiations and disrupt their essence. In other words, Armenia today is undermining the negotiations and everyone can see that. Suffice it to look to the statements of the Armenian leadership. Their military leadership is trying to intimidate us. It is trying to intimidate us with the occupation of new lands. But I think that the lesson we taught them the other day will be remembered for a long time. Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity. There is a limit to the patience of the Azerbaijani people. Therefore, negotiations should be carried out on the substance. If we see that the negotiations are meaningless, then we will take our actions in accordance with this and make statements.

It is possible to say that I have outlined the main issues related to our foreign policy. Of course, it is impossible to cover all other issues in this meeting. However, I am sure that your experience in management will allow you the opportunity to get to the heart of the matter very quickly. As I have already noted, the foreign policy of Azerbaijan will have its say to fully ensure the interests of our country. I wish you success in your work.

Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said:

- Dear Mr. President, first of all, I would like to express my deep gratitude to you for this high confidence. Mr. President, I want to assure you that I will make every effort to ensure the systematic and sustainable activities in accordance with the ideas you have just expressed, attend to the shortcomings in the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the main directions and tasks in the field of ensuring the strategic interests of our country and fulfilling the tasks. Although, as you noted, this area is new to me, I will channel all my knowledge and skills into this work, analyze the situation more deeply and present to your attention a number of proposals in a short time. Interaction between the central office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our diplomatic missions and embassies will be ensured. As you have noted, the main goal is to ensure and protect the strategic interests of our country. We will build our work in the direction of further strengthening the international image and authority of our country, which has been growing under your leadership in recent years, and further strengthen the positions of Azerbaijan in the international arena.

Mr. President, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the fact that during the time when I was Minister of Education, you treated this area with attention and care. All education workers feel this. During this period, as a result of the numerous orders and government programs you signed, hundreds of new schools were built, the education infrastructure was modernized, the salaries of education workers were increased, their social situation was constantly improved and the number of student vacancies was increased. Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the entire educational community, I want to express my deep gratitude to you for this. I would like to note once again that I will make every effort to justify the high confidence placed in me. I will make every effort to fulfill the assigned tasks and systematically resolve the issues you have noted.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, congratulations, and I wish you success!