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
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
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
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.
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