Elkhan Alasgarov: "Azerbaijan stands for peace in Middle East"
Today Moscow is hosting the International conference 'The Middle East: When Will Tomorrow Come?', organized by the 'Valdai' International Discussion Club. The forum is being held in the format of an expert dialogue attended by politicians, scientists and diplomats from more than 25 countries, playing an active role in the Middle East region. On the eve of the conference, Vestnik Kavkaza talked with one of its members - the PhD, head of the expert council of Baku Network, Elkhan Alasgarov.
- In your estimation, what determines the relevance of the Middle East debates today?
- The conference in Moscow is topical primarily due to the events occurring in the Middle East. Russia has recently taken a leading position in the fight against terrorism, and the events in Syria and around Syria indicate that its participation has a positive outcome. Of course, the discussions about the future of the Middle East must involve all countries in the region and its neighbors, including Azerbaijan, it will bring only positive results. Baku Network, as one of the first non-governmental think tanks, was invited to participate in the conference. We have something to hear and say, because geographically, intellectually and economically, Azerbaijan is one of the most expected participants of the events in the Middle East. The verified position of Azerbaijan's foreign policy, based on non-alignment, gives every reason for us to be invited to these events, listen to the opinions of others and express our opinions on global events.
- In line with the name of the conference, what will happen to the Middle East tomorrow?
- To see the future, you need to know what happened yesterday, and look what's happening today. In order to create the best prospects for the Middle East, it is necessary to establish a peace process that has begun in Syria. We are pleased that the meeting in Astana, to which the main parties to the conflict were invited on the initiative of Russia's diplomacy, has given the positive outcome. After five years of continuous war in Syria, military activities are becoming less intensive, people are returning to their homes. Azerbaijan could only welcome this, as the three countries involved in the conflict in Syria - Iran, Russia and Turkey - are our neighbors. As the initiators of the geopolitical and economic projects, as supporters of the peaceful settlement of conflicts and as the country which has suffered during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, we are interested in resolving the situation around Syria and Iraq, so that people could live in normal conditions. We support a peaceful future in the Middle East.
- Under what conditions is a victory over international terrorism in the Middle East possible?
- Terrorism is a worldwide evil, which we can stop, at least its active phase, through the joint efforts of the world as part of a coalition against terrorism. This process is already underway, and the victory is quite real, because terrorism is not invincible. If people were able to beat various diseases, even plague, mankind has always found the strength to get out of difficult situations, then, I think that with the correct approach the world will be able to defeat international terrorism.
- What are the expectations of the Azerbaijani delegation from its participation in the forum?
- Of course, we are interested in an exchange of views on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Armenia, which occupied 20% of our territories. The settlement of this conflict is our main foreign policy task. We all have to think how to resolve this issue. Thinking on it, we strive to bring the solution to Azerbaijan's national and state problems - let refugees to return to their native lands, return our territories and establish peace in the region. This year we expect the opening of the rail link with Europe via Turkey and the implementation of the North-South international transport corridor - that is, Azerbaijan stands for peaceful and constructive labour. The conflict and the occupied territories is an obstacle not only for us, but for many countries that want to develop relations with us. I hope that this conference will give us additional information baggage and we will be able to present our position, as it is a good platform to exchange views and bring our position to the public and representatives of the Middle East.