Vesti FM on Azerbaijan: Ilham Aliyev protects national interests
Under President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan has pursued, pursues and will pursue an independent policy, and under no circumstances will operate under someone else's dictation, the head of the Lomonosov MSU Center for Caucasus Studies, Ismail Agakishiyev, said live on Vesti FM Radio during the 'Questions of the Day' program with Giorgi Saralidze and Elena Schedrunova, commenting on the prospects of relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union.
Speaking of the information war which was unfolded against Azerbaijan by some EU countries during the period of preparation and holding of the First European Games, the expert stressed that the Western countries should be seen without excessive idealization. "I think, even during the Soviet times we idealized Europe's attitude to other countries too much, it seemed to all of us that we can find in Europe everything that we can't find in our own country. But the collapse of the Soviet Union and the first oil contracts concluded in 1994, including with Azerbaijan, have proven that Europe is not ready to develop equal relations. European countries and European companies, wherever they come, they always come only for profit," he explained.
"Thank God, then Heydar Aliyev was the leader of Azerbaijan. The conclusion of the oil 'Contract of the Century' became real during his reign, this contract met the interests of Azerbaijan and laid the foundation of the exit of the republic from economic collapse and becoming a prosperous country. Entering the Council of Europe in 2001, Azerbaijan was ready to develop equal relations with all the countries of the Council of Europe; alas, everything that the republic wanted, primarily a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the restoration of just, friendly relations in the region, including with Armenia, did not happen. On the contrary, all these years the leading European countries have used the regional problems as a lever of pressure on the states located there," Ismail Agakishiev noticed.
The expert noted that there was a paradoxical situation around the First European Games because of such a European policy. "The Games were a proposal by Europe and Azerbaijan agreed to it and held the competitions at a very high, decent level. By the way, just a year ago Russia held the Winter Olympics, which, again, was not its own proposal – Russia was elected by the International Olympic Committee. Both Russia and Azerbaijan spent a lot of finance, receiving sports delegations at a very high level. It turned out that these two countries invited guests who expressed a desire to come to their houses, met them, and rather than say thank you, they tried to cast Russia and Azerbaijan in bad light. It's hard to say otherwise, because I was at these European Games and have seen the attitude of the whole country to them, the whole nation was the team, and President Ilham Aliyev was the captain. Everyone has heard about Caucasian hospitality, so there is nothing surprising in the fact that the event was organized at the highest level," he said.
Commenting on the recent statement by Ilham Aliyev in connection with the adoption of the resolution by the Bundestag in Germany, where Azerbaijan is subjected to harsh criticism, the expert noted that the Azerbaijani president has always been an independent politician. "His addiction was just matching the interests of his people. I mean, the people of Azerbaijan, and he is the president of this nation. Business is business, Azerbaijan, of course, will sell its oil and gas abroad at a profitable price, but whoever imposes unfair claims on the Republic will receive exactly the same resistance. If foreign governments treat Azerbaijan equally, then Azerbaijan, considering its national interests, is willing to develop equal relations with each country," Ismail Agakishiev concluded.
"Azerbaijan has always pursued the balanced policy established by Heydar Aliyev and there won't be any other. His policy will meet its own national interests, without any wobble in one direction or another. No matter what country thinks that it is able to dictate, Under President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan will not operate under someone else's dictation," he told Giorgi Saralidze and Elena Schedrunova.