Speech of Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at the joint Conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UN in Azerbaijan on the theme of Azerbaijan and Sustainable Development Goals

Speech of Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at the joint Conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UN in Azerbaijan on the theme of Azerbaijan and Sustainable Development Goals
October 23, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

I would like to offer our heartfelt congratulations to all of you gathered here on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. I am delighted being here, at the anniversary of the universal organization, which we highly value in Azerbaijan. The ideals of the United Nations are widely supported and shared by the people and Government of Azerbaijan. Personally, I feel proud that I came to work closely with and at the United Nations throughout my career.

Over the past seventy years, the United Nations have decisively established itself as the universal organization working for the noble cause of maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among States and achieving international cooperation. Purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the organization have laid a solid foundation for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world.

Throughout these 70 years, however, the international security environment has changed considerably. Threats have become more complex and interlinked. The balance of power in international relations has also shifted.

To our deepest regret, the world continues to face deterioration of the international security situation and increased human suffering, which requires huge resources from the United Nations. It also testifies to the need for the Member States to work faithfully towards realization of the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Since joining the UN on March 2, 1992, the Republic of Azerbaijan has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to the Charter of the UN.

Azerbaijan has contributed with its military personnel to the UN-mandated peacekeeping operations in various parts of the world to advance the efforts for maintenance of international peace and security. During its non-permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council in 2012-2013, Azerbaijan has defended the imperativeness of international law and took an active participation in the activities of the Council.

Being committed to the development goals set forth within the UN, Azerbaijan has integrated them into its national targets and achieved impressive results in development area, especially in ensuring rapid and sustainable growth, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, ensuring universal primary education and promoting gender equality. In recognition of Azerbaijan's outstanding achievements in implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, my country received the 2015 South-South Award.

On human dimension, Azerbaijan continues to promote tolerance, multiculturalism and understanding among peoples. We are proud that the First European Games in the history of the European Continent was held this year in Baku, with the participation of 6000 athletes from 50 countries, and that in 2017 Azerbaijan will host the Islamic Solidarity Games. We are also planning to hold the 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in Baku in 2016 and count on practical outcomes of this event.

The rapid development at national level enabled Azerbaijan to embark on a new road of official development assistance in the status of an emerging donor. Over the past years, Azerbaijan has continued responding to humanitarian and socio-economic challenges faced by the developing countries through the Azerbaijan International Development Agency-AIDA and other channels.

Elaboration and implementing the programs in cooperation with the UN agencies, aimed at meeting development was one of useful inputs that facilitated the successful implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in Azerbaijan. We highly appreciate the contributions that the UN country team in Azerbaijan has made so far and look forward to the continued presence in and support to Azerbaijan by the UN system, particularly the UNDP in assisting to keep momentum success from the realization of the MDS to that of the Sustainable Development Goals. We are of the view that the UN development agencies, most notably the UNDP, should rather expand presence in Member States as a catalyst and networking tool for sharing best practices and innovative ideas.

In this regard, we believe that the United Nations-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework document for years 2016-2020, which was successfully negotiated, will serve as a new guide for future cooperation between Azerbaijan and the UN country team in realizing the key national development priorities as well as meeting the sustainable development goals.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank the United Nations Resident Coordinator and the entire country team of the UN for the valuable support they extended to Azerbaijan during more than two decades of fruitful cooperation. In particular, I would like recall with a sense of gratitude the valuable humanitarian assistance by the UN Office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees rendered to Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs.

All these achievements were attained despite the grave consequences of the ongoing military aggression and occupation by Armenia, which represents a serious challenge to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and to the Organization as a whole.

In response to the occupation of territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia, numerous resolutions were adopted by the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly condemning the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan and reaffirming respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity and the inviolability of its internationally recognized borders. The fact that those resolutions remain on paper does not serve the credibility of the UN.

Azerbaijan stands for a negotiated settlement of the conflict without prejudice to its rights under the Charter of the United Nations, in particular those set forth in the Article 51. The Government of Armenia must realize that the military occupation of a territory of another State does not represent a solution and its reliance on the status-quo is wrong, counter-productive and dangerous. Azerbaijan will never compromise its territorial integrity and the rights and freedoms of its citizens violated as a result of the aggression.

Notwithstanding all those challenges and difficulties, Azerbaijan remains optimistic and faithful to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. I would like to conclude by reiterating our firm belief in the value and importance of the UN Charter and that it will continue to guide the international community in the decades ahead.

Thank you.

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