Aliyev stretches palm branch to Armenia
The 10th Global Baku Forum on the theme "The World Today: Challenges and Hopes" was held in Baku on March 9-11 under the auspices of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The name is dissonant with last year's slogan of the 9th Global Baku Forum: "Threats to the global world order".
In principle, Aliyev's speech demonstrated that the topic was not changed by chance. At the last forum, the President philosophized about global threats to the world order, hunger and migration in troubled Europe, inequality between producers and consumers of goods and services, and proposed ways to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
This time his speech included theses:
Reanimation of the product of the "cold War" - the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
Inviting Armenia to peace without preconditions
Azerbaijan's role in Europe's energy security
Is Aliyev reviving NAM?
The Non-Aligned Movement dates back to 1961 in the context of the confrontation between the military-political blocs of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, when a number of countries united to evade the dictates of the United States and the USSR. It is no coincidence that after the defeat of the USSR in the Cold War, the activity of the NAM declined.
Today there is no USSR, but the world is faced with a new confrontation between the Western Hemisphere and the Eastern hemisphere in the face of Russia, China, and a number of rogue countries, which, by the way, are part of the NAM.
According to Aliyev, this confrontation is not as a bloc, but cultural and political - Western and Eastern.
Here he sees the role of the NAM in the following: "Today we are witnessing perhaps the most serious conflict between East and West that has ever occurred since the end of the Cold War. The Non–Aligned Movement can and should play an important role in building bridges, forming new approaches to conflict resolution, and ensuring the basic principles of the Non-Aligned Movement - the Bandung Principles. These principles are peace, cooperation, respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as inviolability of borders."
Aliyev noted with satisfaction that during his three years of chairmanship he managed to transform the NAM from a "passive non-alignment" into an active one, which can play a multi-lateral (protection of individual interests through collective participation) function along with the UN and other international associations.
During the years of the organization's revival, he has successfully used the NAM to promote the interests of Azerbaijan, which is natural for such organizations that act as platforms for realizing the aspirations of states within the framework of international principles and norms.
Using the example of the struggle for the fair distribution of vaccines from COVID 19, Aliyev showed that he is a defender of developing countries in the face of the world of the powerful, whose actions he characterized as manifestations of nationalism.
Institutionally, he managed to create a parliamentary and youth network of the NAM with a secretariat in Baku, which means that he is aimed at further activity in the NAM after the presidency, which will end by the end of the year: "We will continue our efforts after the end of our presidency at the end of this year. Because we see a huge need for such a movement in today's fragmented world."
Palm Branch for Armenia
Despite the subsequent aggravation of relations with Armenia after the 9th Baku Forum, Aliyev looked very peaceful on the podium. This time, he did not threaten Yerevan with an alternative - the restoration of the territory of Azerbaijan within the borders of 1920 in the event of a further claim to the independence of the Armenian-populated territory of Karabakh.
Quote from the 9th Baku Forum:
“If Armenia questions the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan will have no choice but to question the territorial integrity of Armenia. From a historical point of view, we have a right to this. The history of the last century clearly shows that in November 1920, six months after the Sovietization of Azerbaijan, the Soviet government annexed the historical part of Azerbaijan Zangezur to Armenia. That is, if Armenia tries to demand the status of Armenians in Karabakh, then why don't the Azerbaijanis demand a status for themselves in Western Zangezur? The population of these regions was entirely Azerbaijani.”
However, then, a couple of months later, Aliyev demonstrated strength by establishing military control over the border, which had not been demarcated and delimited through no fault of his. This was followed by the October peace talks in Prague, Prime Minister Pashinyan's promise to make peace with Azerbaijan, then again, the Armenian blackmail by Karabakh, another escalation on the eve of the Covid NAM summit.
"The Azerbaijani people have a moral right to revenge, and I understand that. But my message came to life by taking revenge on the battlefield," Aliyev said, referring to the 28-year-old Armenian occupation, destruction, genocide of Azerbaijanis, and the victorious liberation war of 2020.
"Now is the time for peace," he said, expressing hope that international participants trying to mediate will convince Armenia not to miss the chance.
"In short, we want peace. We do not want any other war. We believe that peace can be achieved. The issues agreed between Azerbaijan and Armenia last October, in particular, respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, actually show that there are no obstacles to achieving peace."
Touching upon the future of the Armenian minority in Azerbaijan, Aliyev promised that their life will be better than during the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia.
Energy forte of Aliyev
Aliyev well saddled energy issues and proved to be a good rider in conditions when Europe almost fell into an energy stopper caused by Russia's war against Ukraine and, as a consequence, the introduction of Western anti-Russian sanctions.
He did not hide his satisfaction that fate had been lucky for Azerbaijan when pipeline routes had already been built, and Caspian gas production and prices had gone up. They brought unexpected additional political and financial dividends that strengthened the country's position in the international arena: "We have already changed the energy map of Europe with the construction of oil and gas pipelines, and now it is the turn of power lines that will provide green energy ... If in 2021 we exported a total of 19 billion cubic meters of gas, then this year This year it will exceed 24 billion cubic meters, and at least half of them will be transported to Europe."
After the last Baku summit, Azerbaijan concluded agreements with international corporations for the production of green (solar and wind) energy with a capacity of 25 gigawatts, which will be sent to Europe via the Georgia-Black Sea-Romania trans-grid. This is a serious amount, considering that all electricity production capacities in the country reach 7 gigawatts per hour, where more than 90% is accounted for by thermal power plants.
Aliyev said that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has discovered that the potential of the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea is 157 gigawatts + 40 gigawatts of potential on land.
And finally, he tried to intrigue the rapidly growing logistical capabilities of the participating countries of the forum, including 4 presidents, 2 prime ministers, 6 speakers and ministers, heads of 5 UN structures, 25 former presidents, 21 former prime ministers, deputy foreign ministers of 23 countries, a total of 360 representatives from 61 countries.
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