The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan released a report on the results of the year 2019.
The report reads as follows:
"During the year of 2019, the Republic of Azerbaijan has successfully pursued an independent foreign policy course based on its national interests at a time of growing political and economic tensions in the context of international relations. Against the background of contradictory processes taking place around the region, our country has achieved even greater growth of high international prestige due to ensuring internal stability and the pace of consistent development, carrying out fundamental reforms in public administration, rooting the positive dynamics of economic growth and the effective implementation of large-scale projects, with its active participation.
2019 was marked by the 100th anniversary of the diplomatic service of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was established a hundred years ago to represent the interests of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in the international arena, has made every effort to protect and develop the heritage entrusted to it in the last century. In connection with the centenary of the diplomatic service, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev in his congratulatory address emphasized: “Our diplomats, our diplomatic service bodies have exceptional merit in strengthening independence, bringing the Azerbaijani realities to the world, turning our country into an active member of the international community".
Comprehensive reforms implemented at the initiative and under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, along with ensuring socio-economic stability and development, have created a positive basis for the growth of a positive image of our country in the international arena. Foreign policy activity, which is an integral part of the comprehensive development strategy of our country, has contributed to strengthening the international position of Azerbaijan as a reliable and sustainable partner, following the principles of multilateralism, flexibility, transparency, equal and mutually beneficial cooperation.
The main focus of our diplomatic activities is to end Armenia's military aggression against Azerbaijan and to restore sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders of our country.
As a result of ongoing consistent diplomatic efforts, the world community's support for Azerbaijan's position on resolving the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of international borders has increased.
In the final document of the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, which brings together the 120 member countries and constitutes the largest political platform after the UN, held in Baku on October 25-26 of this year, the heads of states and governments noted the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by force, also stressed the importance of resolving the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict on the basis of the principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, and confirmed that no Member State shall recognize as lawful the situation resulting from the occupation of the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. At the Summit, chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement has been transferred to the Republic of Azerbaijan for the upcoming 3 years.
The Final Communiqué, adopted on May 23-24 at the 14th Summit of the heads of state and government of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), strongly condemned the occupation of the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan as a result of the aggression of Armenia and reflected the appeal of member states to prevent any activity that could contribute to sustaining the occupation. At the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC, which was held on March 1-2, the resolutions on “Aggression of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan”, “Destruction and insult of monuments and traces of the Islamic religion in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan”, “Solidarity with the victims of the Khojaly massacre”, “Economic assistance to Azerbaijan” were adopted.
The decision on the rights and obligations of member states, which was indicated in the documents of the 129th session of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Council of Europe (CoE), held on May 17, reflected a provision confirming respect for the territorial integrity of member states.
The Final Declaration of the 7th Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (Turkic Council), which was held on October 15, contained a resolute support on the soonest resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan.
The Final Declaration of the 5th Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, which took place on June 14-15, included issues related to the condemnation of separatism, the resolution of regional conflicts on the basis of norms and principles of international law and decisions adopted by international organizations.
The Final Declaration of the Summit of Heads of Government of the GUAM Member States, held on 12 December, emphasized the importance of the soonest resolution of the conflicts on the territory of GUAM on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions and the norms and principles of international law, as reflected in the Helsinki Final Act, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States within their internationally recognized borders.
During 2019, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev received the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in Baku on February 21, May 30 and October 17, as part of the discussions on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
On January 22, within the framework of the Davos World Economic Forum, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan met with the Prime Minister of Armenia. On March 29, a meeting was held in Vienna between the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
During the year, in total 5 meetings were held between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan with the participation of co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and the personal representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office on January 16 in Paris, April 15 in Moscow, June 20 in Washington, September 23 in New York and December 4 in Bratislava.
Activities within the framework of various international organizations for the international protection of the rights of people suffering from the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia, especially IDPs, missing persons, prisoners of war and hostages continued during the year, various provisions have been included to the resolutions and recommendations on the right of IDPs to return, as well as the immediate release of hostages, and the fate of missing persons.
Development of foreign economic and trade relations, increasing export potential, exploring new investment opportunities, organizing mutual visits of government and business circles of Azerbaijan and foreign countries, holding meetings of the joint intergovernmental commissions and working groups on economic cooperation, preventing illegal economic activities in our occupied territories, expanding cooperation in the framework of global and regional international economic organizations have constituted the main priority directions of the foreign policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
During the year, meetings of the Intergovernmental Commissions of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the USA, Afghanistan, Japan, Great Britain, Switzerland, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, France, Russia, Turkmenistan, the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region of China were held.
On November 30, the opening of the TANAP connecting part with Europe was held. TANAP, implemented upon the initiative and with the participation of our country, and connecting the countries of the region with the ties of closer cooperation is part of one of the largest Eurasian infrastructure projects - the Southern Gas Corridor - and will bring Azerbaijani gas to Europe through Turkey, and contribute to the energy security of the European countries.
On December 5-6, Baku hosted the 14th session of the TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission and an international conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the organization. Following the meeting, a new TRACECA Secretary-General was elected and the chairmanship in the organization was handed over to Azerbaijan.
During the year the intensive negotiations continued between Azerbaijan and the European Union on the draft of a new bilateral agreement. On February 19, a high-level Transport dialogue between Azerbaijan and the EU was held in Baku; the EU has a high-level dialogue in the field of transport with only seven countries in the world. At the EU-Azerbaijan Security Dialogue meeting held on December 19, the sides exchanged views on important political and security issues of mutual interest, including conflict resolution and crisis management, regional and international security threats and challenges, and discussed practical cooperation opportunities. The EU side has reaffirmed the support of the EU officials for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty.
Close cooperation with international and regional organizations responsible for promoting the principles of human rights, democracy, the rule of law, as well as good governance continued during the year. Throughout the year, our country has been closely involved in the work of the relevant institutions of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the United Nations, and has contributed to its activities. Azerbaijan has ratified the CoE's Lanzarote Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual exploitation and Sexual abuse and signed the Fourth Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Extradition.
The Republic of Azerbaijan, generally known for its commitment to sustainable peace and security in the region, as well as sustainable development and prosperity, during the year, has been actively involved in productive meetings held within the framework of various regional partnerships and has deepened its strategic partnership with neighbouring countries.
The Final Document of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan-Turkey-Georgia held in Tbilisi on December 23 emphasized the importance of a lasting peaceful settlement of the conflicts existing in the territories of Azerbaijan and Georgia on the basis of norms and principles of international law, in particular sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders, including the relevant UN, OSCE and CoE resolutions and decisions, as well as the need for safe and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of residence. At the meeting, an action plan on trilateral cooperation was adopted.
At the 8th meeting of the Azerbaijan-Russia Joint Demarcation Commission held in Moscow on November 27-29, the "Action Plan of the Azerbaijan-Russian Joint Demarcation Commission for 2020" was agreed and approved.
After the signing of the “Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea”, the intergovernmental “Agreement on the organization of activities by communication operators of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in relation to the joint construction of fiber optic transmission lines along the bottom of the Caspian Sea on Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan route, their ownership, and use” and the “Agreement on organization of activities by communication operators of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in relation to the joint construction of fiber optic transmission lines along the bottom of the Caspian Sea on Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan route, their ownership, and use”, the first projects in the Caspian Sea and economically important for our country, which would strengthen the digital infrastructure of the Caspian countries and enhance relations in the field of communication between them, were signed on March 19 and November 28, respectively.
As in previous years, the promotion of intercultural dialogue in our country remained of great importance during the last year. At the 43rd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee chaired by Azerbaijan in Baku on June 30-July 10, the nomination of our country titled “Historical center of Shaki together with the Khan Palace” has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. At the same time, Baku has been included in the “Creative Cities” network by UNESCO.
During the year, active work has been carried out to promote the high level representation of our country within international organizations. Azerbaijan has been elected as a member of the EUTELSAT Advisory Committee, the World Tourism Organization Appeals Committee on Associate Membership, UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the protection and promotion of cultural diversity, UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sports, UNESCO Intergovernmental Council on Communication Development Program for 2019-2023.
At the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, the election of Azerbaijan as a member of the Group of 77, which unites 135 member countries and whose goal is to contribute to international development and economic cooperation, including protecting the interests of developing countries in order to fulfill the UN sustainable development goals, amounted to one of the important achievements of the last year.
The 7th Global Baku Forum, the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, the 18th Summit of Heads of State and Government of Non-Aligned Movement member states, the 7th Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, the Ministerial Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, the 2nd Summit of World Religious Leaders, “Formula 1” Grand Prix, UEFA Europa League Final, the 15th European Youth Summer Olympic Festival, UN Public Service Forum, the 43rd Session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee, the 36th International Conference on Drug Control, the 26th International Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition, Bakutel-2019 and other prestigious international events, which were held in 2019 in Azerbaijan have demonstrated the international reputation of and high credibility on our country, as well as its rich experience and skills.
During the last year numerous bilateral and multilateral official and working visits were held. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan made official and working visits to Switzerland, Austria, China, Belgium, Russia, Turkmenistan and Turkey. At the same time, the heads of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zimbabwe, Georgia, Afghanistan, Montenegro, Moldova, Switzerland, Rwanda, Poland, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Cuba, Djibouti, Ghana, Iran, Namibia, Pakistan, Venezuela, Turkmenistan, Eswatini, Equatorial Guinea, Libya and Sudan paid official and working visits to Azerbaijan.
The First Vice President of the Republic of Azerbaijan paid official and working visits to France and Russia, while the Vice Presidents of India and Vietnam paid an official visit to Azerbaijan.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan paid a working visit to Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Russia, Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom. In turn, the heads of Government of Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Libya, Malaysia, as well as the Deputy Prime Ministers of Croatia, Bulgaria and Belarus made official and working visits to our country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan has paid official and working visits to Turkey, USA, Russia, Belgium, Germany, France, Iran, Qatar, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Poland, Peru, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Turkmenistan Latvia and Georgia. At the same time, foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Romania, Slovakia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Maldives, Egypt, Serbia, Ghana, Montenegro, Croatia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Cuba, Palestine, Kuwait, Singapore, Zambia, Niger and Sri Lanka, as well as Deputy Foreign Ministers of Switzerland, Georgia, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia made official and working visits to Azerbaijan.
During the year, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization, UNESCO Director-General, President of the Council of the European Union, Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union, Executive Director of the International Astronomical Federation, President of the UN General Assembly, President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, UN High Representative for Alliance, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Secretary General of the KAICIID International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union Commission, Secretary General of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation, Secretary General of OPEC, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, President of Youth Forum of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Director General of ISESCO, Director General of UNESCO, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, as well as President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Special Representative of the European Union for the South Caucasus and crisis in Georgia, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Head of the Directorate for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission paid official and working visits to Azerbaijan.
During the last year, joint communiqués on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the United Republic of Tanzania, Barbados and the Republic of Namibia were signed, as well as the embassies of Montenegro and Slovakia in Azerbaijan were established and the Honorary Consulate of Azerbaijan in Salzburg, Austria started its activity.
In order to improve the legal status of the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan living in foreign countries and expand the possibilities of bilateral cooperation, bilateral consular consultations were held between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, the Republic of North Macedonia, Georgia, Russia and Tajikistan.
Last year with the support of the Azerbaijan International Development Agency (AIDA), eye examinations of more than 20,000 people, cataract surgeries of about 8,000 people and professional training for 26 local ophthalmologists were held in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Togo, the Comoro Islands and Guinea-Bissau.
On October 5, 2019, Azerbaijan received the participant status at the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization of Economic Cooperation Development (OECD).
With the joint organization of AIDA and ADA University during 10-30 November Advanced Foreign Service Program for Foreign Diplomats was held for the diplomats from the states of Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.
At the same time, in response to the request of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, our country provided humanitarian assistance to Burundi refugees and in response to the letter of the UN Secretary-General, humanitarian assistance provided to the population suffering from the crisis in Yemen, as well as the humanitarian assistance was provided to the population suffering from the natural disaster in Iran and the earthquakes in Albania.
In 2019, 338 bachelors and 96 master students graduated from ADA University under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12 new student exchange agreements were signed, 179 students were sent to foreign universities as part of an exchange program, and 50 foreign students were trained at the ADA University through the Erasmus program.
During the next year, an independent foreign policy course aimed at strengthening the welfare and power of our state and based on our national interests will continue with the expansion of multilateral cooperation across various international platforms. Achieving a solution to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is the most acute problem of our country, within the framework of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan, will remain as a priority task. Achievement of foreign policy goals will be guided by the idea of "an independent foreign policy based on national interests and justice" as stressed by President Ilham Aliyev".