Updated: 07-Dec-2001 NATO Speeches

7 Dec. 2001


by H.E. Dr. Vilayat GULIYEV
Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Azerbaijan
at the Meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
at the level of Foreign Ministers

Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are here today at a significant juncture in the development of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership whose tenth anniversary all of our nations solemnly celebrated only six weeks ago. Our Partnership has undergone a rather long and at times thorny road of evolution that started, as you Mr. Secretary-General have eloquently put it, from "a great leap into the unknown" back in 1991. Needless to say, that the Alliance and our partnership have changed dramatically over this decade becoming also the embodiment of the flexible and relevant cooperative security concept.

Unfortunately, this is not the only significance of our today's gathering. We meet for the first time in this format after the whole world was shaken by heinous and tragic terrorist attacks in the United States. And today all of us look at the world and at the Euro-Atlantic security in a completely different way than we did just three months ago, realising the gravest consequences we might face in case the daring evil of terror is not confronted properly.

The period in history that the whole civilized world has embarked upon on 12 September 2001 can be defined in a nutshell as unconditional solidarity and selfless commitment of all our nations to join the global campaign against terrorism. My country, that knows what the terrorism feels like not through hearsay, has proudly joined this coalition of the willing from the very outset.

No one could claim that the fight against terrorism can be succesful only if this evil is treated on its own, in isolation from terrorism-breeding other so-called new security threats, such as organized crime, aggressive separatism, drug trafficking proliferation of small arms and of weapons of mass destruction.

We regret that due attention has not yet been given to a thorough multifaceted investigation of financial and economic pillars of terrorism and organized crime. It is imperative to target ways and means of accumulating huge financial assets feeding organized criminal groups, which have close operational ties with international terrorist networks and illegal armed separatist movements.

The illicit profits gained in the territories controlled by separatists and turned into "gray zones" of various criminal activities are further used to feed armed separatism and terrorism.

Given the intertwined nature of all thse threats, and the fact that they are global in scale, it would be naïve to even assume for a second that they could be tackled by a single government or a group of states. Therefore, a number one task for the whole international community should be to perpetuate its collective fight against these new threats, without any selectivity, double standards, half measures or narrow national interests.

Question arises whether under these circumstances there is a role for both Allies and Partners in tackling these new challenges within the EAPC? The unanimous solidarity manifested by all 46 EAPC nations on the next day after the attacks in issuing a statement that declared these acts as an attack not only on the US but on our common values, should serve as a good starter for a concerted and effective EAPC contribution to the international fight against terrorism.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank Finland and Sweden for coming up with concrete proposals to that effect, which now as part of an EAPC Action Plan have to find their swift and efficient follow-up. Azerbaijan is ready to make its contribution in this regard.

We also appreciate the understanding broadly shared by all our Partners of the special need for tangible support and concrete assistance for the nations in Central Asia and in the Caucasus in the present drastically changed security environment.

On the whole, Azerbaijan highly values the dedicated efforts by the Secretary-General Lord Robertson that are broadly shared by the Allied Nations, to elevate the profile of the Caucasus in the Alliance agenda. We highly estimate the potential stabilization and modernization function that NATO can perform in our important and yet volatile and unstable region, the security of which has been undermined by the outstanding "frozen" conflicts, large-scale humanitarian catastrophe and military occupation.

With regard to its ongoing conflict with Armenia I would like to remind you that one-fifth of the territory of Azerbaijan is under foreign occupation and around one million of people will have to survive through another winter as refugees and internally displaced persons.

Armenia for many years has declared about the self-determination of Nagorno Karabakh. Under this "lofty" pretext Nagorno Karabakh and seven other Azerbaijani regions have been occupied by Armenia.

We are convinced that the resolution on the basis of conferring the highest degree of self-rule upon the Nagorno Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and coexistence of Armenian and Azerbaijani populations there, will pave the only way to the restoration of cooperation between Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as of peace and stability in the South Caucasus.

There should be no doubt that people of Azerbaijan will never give up determination to restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty until all the occupied territories are liberated.

Mr. Chairman,

The goals lying ahead of us have become even more challenging. Only the time will show how seriously all of us have learned the bitter lessons of the tragedy, and how far-reaching impact these tragic events have had on our determination to fight all the challenges of the after-September 11-th world. But no matter how difficult and painstaking our efforts to right the wrong might be, we should never let ourselves be overwhelmed by frustration and continue with our united struggle for a safer and more secure world.

Thank you.

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