H.E. Fakhraddin Gurbanov : The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict was Left in the Past

Our view is that respect to the norms and principles of the international law and cooperation the only way for the benefits of the region and prosper of people.

Many countries share the same fate, history, experience, dark times and times of prosperity. Same connectivity between Croatia and Azerbaijan which enjoys with mutually good relations for Diplomacy &Commerce says H.E. Fakhraddin Gurbanov Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Republic of Croatia . The ambassador told our magazine about the possibilities of expanding cooperation between the two countries, but also about resolving the long-standing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and what his country’s positions in global politics are.

  1. You have been in Croatia since 2018. How would you rate the development of relations between the two countries and how different are they compared to the period when you came to Zagreb?
    — Since 2013 relations between the countries raised to the strategic partnership level. I have privileged to be appointed to represent my country in Croatia since 2018 and I can tell that we managed to improve relations, I would like to underline the opening of the Croatian Embassy In Baku in April 2019, it was a new dimension. In September 2018 President Aliyev paid an official visit to Zagreb. I can tell that 2019 was successful in terms of our diplomatic activities. Speaking about new dimension I would like to highlight cooperation on people-to-people level. Shaki city in Azerbaijan and  Varazdin in Croatia signed partnership agreement. Both cities have long history and cultural experience. Hopefully it will give a new impute to intergovernmental relations. 2020 was challenging year due to coronavirus pandemic. Many events as cultural as well as economically has forced to be canceled. However dialogue continued by using online capabilities. Since epidemiologic situation were allowed in last year ministries of foreign affairs held political consultations and in October Zagreb host the 2nd session of the Joint Commission between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Republic of Croatia for Promotion of Economic Cooperation. And I can tell that between this two important events Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Mr. G. Grlić-Radman paid an official visit to Baku. We can evaluate it as a successful. During the join press-conference Minister J.Bayramov noted “the successful development of friendly and strategic relations between the two countries.” And our hope that in coming years Croatia and Azerbaijan continue the positive trends in all levels.
  2. Where do you see the most room for improvement of mutual relations, which areas specifically
    and in what way?
    — As of today we are observing decrease in pandemic. We can see tourists again walking on the streets. Croatia one of the experienced countries in the region in terms of tourism industry. Cooperation in this area could be one of the expectations. Azerbaijan has rich energy resources and we already established good cooperation in this field, however there we have some room to widen this cooperation. As you know Azerbaijan managed to liberate lands from the occupation. Those towns, cities and villages as well as all necessary infostructures and facilities has been looted for years. We need to bring this land to the better shape existed even before. Croatia has extensive experience in demining as well as experienced companies in energy facilities. One of the characteristic features marking country quality is great culture and thanks God Croatia and Azerbaijan has great culture. It includes music, literacy, architecture, art. Promotion of the cultural cooperation is one of the points of interest on the list. Last year we placed Azerbaijani carpets photo-exhibition and I can tell you that it attracted a great interest of people and we are planning new events in this year
  3. What is the official Baku’s position on the conflicts around Nagorno-Karabakh and what do you see as the possible solution for this dispute?
    — Azerbaijan had been victim of invasion. Almost 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan has been occupied by the military mean by Armenia. Thereafter for thirty years this lands, agonized under these occupants. This whole territories devastated again and again by The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict was Left in the Past .  Our view is that respect to the norms and principles of the international law and cooperation the only way for the benefits of the region and prosper of people those invaders. Speaking about the conflict I have to mention that In 1993, The UN Security Council adopted 4 resolutions demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian troops from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and the return of all refugees and internally displaces persons to their lands. The UNSC resolutions condemn the use of force against Azerbaijan and occupation of its territories and reaffirm sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders of Azerbaijan. These resolutions have not been fulfilled by Armenia. The decisions and resolutions of the UN General Assembly, the OSCE, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and other international organizations have not been respected either. As I mentioned earlier 2020 was challenging for the whole the world. However it was one of the important years in history spin of my country. 2020 was the year of liberation of the lands and “homeland war”. On the morning of September 27, 2020 Armenian armed forces lunched advanced, full scale military attack on Azerbaijan. This aggression resulted with the war by its all means for 44 days and ending with the liberation of the most occupied towns and cities. The “44 days war” was necessity, it was fought for life, for the country and nation existence. It was a record of heroism in all levels of our society. Today we consider that the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is over. Our view is that respect to the norms and principles of the international law and cooperation the only way for the benefits of the region and prosper of people. As President Aliyev noted: “Azerbaijan resolved the 30-yearlong conflict and restored its territorial integrity and  historical justice by military-political means. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was left in the past. There is no administrative territorial unit called Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. We have created Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur economic zones by the Presidential decree signed on 7 July 2021. Using this occasion, I would like to call on all the UN Member States and the UN Secretariat to avoid using legally non-existing, politically biased and manipulative names while referring to our territories. ” And as an ambassador I would like to use this opportunity once more to bring to the attention that there is no such thing as “Nagorno Karabakh” and am expecting respect to that.
    4. In January, Azerbaijan remembers the victims of the attacks of Soviet troops on Baku when 147 civilians lost their lives. You commemorate this as National Mourning Day. How important is this date in your history and how much does it serve as a “warning” even today?
    — This year on 20th of January 32 year passed since those days. Over the night from 19 to 20 January 1990 26,000 Soviet troops invaded Azerbaijan’s capital city of Baku and brutally massacred Azerbaijani civilians, including women, children and the elderly. The massacre at 20 January was one of the most horrific events in the history of 20th century. The Soviet Army deployed to the country in order to prevent the national movement and break the will of the Azerbaijani people for independence, committed massacre against the peaceful population, violating the norms of international law. Deaths were part of living in those days. But the tragedy of January 20 did not break the will of ordinary people, and the struggle for freedom resulted in the restoration of Azerbaijan’s independence in 1991. Since then, 20 January has been commemorated as National Mourning Day. Every year on January 20, millions visiting the Alley of Martyrs to give tribute. They give one minutes of silence in respect. These lessons of the history must not be forgotten.
    5.When we observe the global map, where is Azerbaijan today when it comes to international relations, and what would you single out as the most important objectives of your politics?
    — Azerbaijan’s geographical location was and will be “the Natural Seats of Interests.” Hence when we observe the global map – Azerbaijan in the center. Caucuses, the land of myths and legends, were also been blessed by the God with an abundance of valuable possessions and wealth. Caspian sea, on which west coast lays Azerbaijan, rich of natural gas and oil reserves. However natural resources and advantage geography sometimes brings challenging and rich historical experience with. It attracts attention as friends as well as rivals. Azerbaijan initiated transport corridors, today we are one of the important contributors to the European energy security. The South Gas Corridor, which is already operational, one of the sources for the gas consumers in Europe. This is even more appropriate in this days, when are we observing raise on demand and price. Political philosophy of Azerbaijan is a friendly, equally respectful, mutually beneficial relations with all countries as well as with all actors of international relations. We would like to live in a world where every people, every nation and every country lives in harmony, peace and friendship.
    6. What do you like the most in Croatia (a city, a place, food, drinks, etc.), and what would
    you like to recommend to everyone coming here?
    — Croatia is a beautiful country with dazzling Adriatic coastline with its sunny beaches, stammering waters, clusters of walled, redcapped towns, sprouting photogenic headlands. Its even difficult to high light a separate city, all of them are special in its way. Croatia historically has been one of the famous tourist destinations and not only for Europeans. Cities like Dubrovnik, Split and small cozy villages on coastline always attracting connoisseurs of sun and good food. Varazdin with which established good relations also one of top touristic destinations. I would recommend to see as much as possible, specially historic places, with the magnificent castles, national parks should be of special attention. And of course to taste very delicious food.