by H.E. Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
at the 6th Conference of the heads of diplomatic missions of Azerbaijan
Esteemed conference participants,
The 6th meeting of heads of diplomatic missions of the Republic of Azerbaijan coincides with a very significant date. Today, we celebrate the centenary of the professional holiday of diplomatic service employees of the Republic of Azerbaijan with great pride.
A century ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the first Republic in the Muslim East was established to properly represent the interests of the newly emerging Republic in international domain during the turbulent post-World War I period.
Certainly, multifaceted diplomatic efforts were well underway from the earliest days of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), but the provisional directive establishing the MFA’s Secretariat came on July 9th, 1919, the date we now officially celebrate as the professional holiday of Azerbaijani diplomats according to the Order No. 2356 of 24 August 2007 of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Despite the short life of our republic as a result of the Soviet occupation, the diplomatic staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the first Republic gained extensive experience, achieved great successes and formed the basis of our independent foreign policy.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the people of Azerbaijan were able to restore its national independence. Many people were skeptical that Azerbaijan, which was suffering from military aggression of Armenia, the severe economic crisis and severe internal clashes, would find a way out of this difficult situation. In 1993, national leader Heydar Aliyev's return to power with the call of the nation laid the foundation for stability and development in Azerbaijan. The main purpose of the National Leader was to transform Azerbaijan into a more powerful and rich state, further strengthen its reputation in the world community and become its own driving force, goals which were gloriously achieved.
The current foreign policy strategy of Azerbaijan, instituted by nation-wide leader Heydar Aliyev, based on our national interests, is successfully being continued by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev.
The growing controversy between global and regional powers has further exacerbated the ongoing tensions in the international system, including the interference with states' sovereignty and internal affairs, the dual approach to international law and principles, as well as armed conflicts, ethnic clashes, economic sanctions and humanitarian crisis. Controversial processes around our region at the backdrop, our country has succeeded to further enhance its international prestige and reputation by ensuring internal stability and development, fine-tuning the economy up to positive growth and realizing large-scale projects as a result of a successful policy pursued by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev.
Foreign policy conducted by the Republic of Azerbaijan is primarily based on principles of equal and mutually beneficial cooperation, which serves to strengthen the independence of our country, restore sovereignty and territorial integrity within its international borders and to promote our national interests abroad.
Today, the international community unequivocally supports Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied territories and settlement of the conflict on the basis of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is also mandated in the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly, the Non-Aligned Movement, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OSCE, Council of Europe, European Union, NATO and other international organizations.
Azerbaijan successfully develops partnerships on a regional and global scale. It employs new approaches to cooperation in trilateral and quadrilateral format which forms a new basis for ensuring a qualitatively new level of intergovernmental relations.
Over the past years, the Republic of Azerbaijan opened new embassies in the Algerian People's Democratic Republic and the Republic of Iraq, non-resident embassies in Colombia, Chile, Uruguay and Peru and new consulates in Austria, Sudan, Djibouti, Ukraine, Paraguay, Italy and Malta. During the same period, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico, Venezuela and Chile established embassies in Azerbaijan, Algeria, Portugal, Croatia, Estonia and Montenegro sent non-resident embassies and San Marino, Slovenia, Macedonia and Ethiopia appointed honorary consuls to Azerbaijan. The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Tanzania, the Republic of Vanuatu, the Union of the Bahamas, the Samoa State, Palau, San-Tome and the Democratic Republic of Macedonia have established diplomatic relations.
Currently, Azerbaijan has embassies in 59 countries, permanent missions to 5 international organizations, 9 consulates, 11 non-resident embassies and 16 honorary consulates. Simultaneously, 66 embassies, 4 consulates, 13 honorary consulates and representations of 22 international organizations reside in our country.
Under the leadership of our President Ilham Aliyev, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan will continue to pursue independent and versatile foreign policy aimed at protecting and furthering national interests within the system of international relations. The end of Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan, the liberation of our lands from occupation and the return of internally displaced persons to their homes will remain the main priority of our diplomatic efforts.
Prescient words of national leader Heydar Aliyev, "We will get through these difficult days, the independent Republic of Azerbaijan will take its rightful place in the world community and every citizen of Azerbaijan will declare with great pride that he or she is a part of this independent state” have inspired the visionary policy that the President is now implementing.
Azerbaijani diplomats will continue their tireless endeavor to promote and advance our national interests worldwide, extending with dignity our historic heritage and our enthusiasm for progress, as well as the honoring 100 years of Azerbaijani diplomacy.
Thank you for your attention.