Azerbaijan maintains ties with Israel, raises influence in Arab world – MP

Asim Mollazade
News.Az interviews Asim Mollazade, MP and leader of the Democratic Reforms Party.

Earlier this week you met Palestinian ambassador to Azerbaijan. What did you discuss at the meeting?

The talks focused on resolution of Middle East and Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts, cooperation between Azerbaijan and Palestine.

We agreed that these conflicts have generated a lot of refugees and created a humanitarian catastrophe. In Palestine, the situation has lasted more than 40 years, and people there are sensitive to the humanitarian problems that surfaced as a result of occupation of Azerbaijani territory by Armenia. The ambassador expressed his full support for territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

I also briefed the ambassador on policies of our party, told him about our domestic and foreign policy and economic situation in the country. In general, it was an interesting meeting. As far as I understood, the meeting was initiated by the ambassador. Yes. You know that we regularly meet with ambassadors of various countries accredited in Azerbaijan and exchange views on many issues.

Did Palestinian envoy send any message to the Azerbaijani side and did he express any wish of his government?

No, he above all thanked Azerbaijan for the very warm reception for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, and said that Palestine, in turn, is ready to fight for Azerbaijan and its just cause in solving the Karabakh conflict on the international scene. Most importantly, this is, after all, rule of law, the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions in practice.

In your opinion, will Azerbaijan support recognition of Palestinian State during a voting that will take place in September?

I think the issue is not on the agenda. Azerbaijan will be consulting with all its allies in this regard. Apparently, the stand of Azerbaijan will coincide with stand of other countries, that is, will be based on decisions of the UN Security Council. The main thing in this matter, which Azerbaijan is always concerned about, is the situation of refugees, civilian deaths as a result of clashes, women and children. Azerbaijan, which has felt the pain of this tragedy, is always sympathetic to the pain of other countries and peoples.

Should Azerbaijan in cooperation with Palestine worry about long-standing ties of the autonomy with the Armenian terrorists, who, at least in the past were trained in bases of extremists in Palestine?

The situation has changed. Cooperation of Armenian terrorist organizations with other similar organizations happened in the 1970s and 80s. Today Armenian terrorism has changed the mask, geography of its operations and focused its attacks on territory of Azerbaijan, where a huge amount of terrorist attacks have been committed since the late 1980s.

With regard to killings of Turkish diplomats, Armenian terrorist organizations somehow merged with PKK in this matter. In other words, activities of Armenian terrorists have shifted from the Middle East to the South Caucasus and Turkey.

However, there is evidence that many Armenian militant groups in Lebanon are cooperating with Hezbollah, and we must always keep this in mind.

I will ask the question differently. During the period of activity of Armenian terrorists, closely linked with the Armenian extremism, Azerbaijan did not have such close relations with Arab world benevolent towards Armenians. Now the situation is different and leaders of Syria, Palestine visit Baku. Does this help stop aiding for Armenian terrorists on the part of these countries, which had been in the past?

Azerbaijan is trying to build normal relations with all Arab countries. As a whole, Azerbaijan needs support of international community, especially within the framework of international organizations on the issue of Armenia’s aggression against our territory.

However, Azerbaijan has normal relations with Israel and works with it on many fronts. Therefore, in this case it is impossible to speak about inclination in Azerbaijan’s foreign policy. In fact, it is based on a partnership strategy, that is, we do not act in the spirit of medieval psychology, but pursue a pragmatic policy based on partnership, mutually beneficial cooperation. This suggests that Azerbaijan, while maintaining normal relations with Israel, increases its influence in the Arab world.

( / 06.08.2011)

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