Elkhan Suleymanov: “Nagorno Karabakh is not a conflict, this is military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan”

According to the information we received yesterday from headquarters of Shamakhi region MP Elkhan Suleymanov, the International Conference “Geopolitics of Azerbaijan and Energy Security in Europe” organized by the magazine “Industrie Magazin Verlag” was held in Vienna, Austria on 10th June 2013. Alfred Gusenbauer, the former Chancellor of Austria and Elkhan Suleymanov, Head of Azerbaijani delegation to the Euronest PA and MP of the Shamakhi region were the moderators of the conference, APA reports.

According to the information we received yesterday from headquarters of Shamakhi region MP Elkhan Suleymanov, the International Conference “Geopolitics of Azerbaijan and Energy Security in Europe” organized by the magazine “Industrie Magazin Verlag” was held in Vienna, Austria on 10th June 2013. Alfred Gusenbauer, the former Chancellor of Austria and Elkhan Suleymanov, Head of Azerbaijani delegation to the Euronest PA and MP of the Shamakhi region were the moderators of the conference, APA reports.


The composition of Azerbaijani delegation attending the conference also included Minister of Industry and Energy of Azerbaijan Mr. Natiq Aliyev, MPs Gudrat Hasanguliyev and Fazil Mustafa. Israel’s ambassador to Austria Aviv Shir-On, the former Minister of Trade and Industry of Italy and the President of Farefuturo Fund Mr. Adolfo Urso, MPs, ambassadors, the scientific community and the staff of the institutes, students, representatives of a number of companies, a leading media representatives participated at the conference. The participants of the conference exchanged views on the role of Azerbaijan as a reliable supplier of oil and gas and as an stable ally of the West in non-stable South Caucasus region and made speeches on energy carriers, economy, relations with the European Union, religious tolerance and intercultural dialogue issues. Extensive discussions were held on the most painful issue for Azerbaijan and constant threat to stability in the region – Nagorno-Karabakh problem and its consequences. At the beginning of the conference, Florian Zangerl, the editor of the “Industrie Magazin” introduced the speakers to the audience. Then, Mr. Alfred Gusenbauer, the former Chancellor of Austria, welcomed the participants and informed about the importance of the theme of the event.


Addressing the conference the Professor of the Innsbruck University Mr. Gerhard Mangot, has commented broadly on the current geopolitical situation in the South Caucasus region and mentioned that conflicts in the region are not frozen at all and at any time the armed phase of the conflict can be restored. Russia stands behind the conflicts in the region and there are 2 Russian military bases in Armenia which allows military units to control the situation in the whole region. Iran in its turn is Russian ally in the region and is interested in keeping the situation tense. In addition a strong Armenian Diaspora in the United States has a direct impact on the country’s policy in the region. EU does not have such an impact on the region. Turkey is the only country that gives political support to Azerbaijan. Under these circumstances, proving that it pursues the strong and independent foreign policy, whereas it does not get any significant political support from the European Union Azerbaijan insists on playing an important role in the energy security of Europe.


The representative of the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies Vasily Astrov mainly touched ensuring energy security issues of EU. He noted that the Europe must provide the diversification of energy supply.


Aviv Shir-On, Israel’s ambassador to Austria spoke about the friendship and cooperation relations between Azerbaijan and Israel and shared views on the similar fate and the geopolitical situation of the two countries.


Natig Aliyev, Minister of Industry and Energy of Azerbaijan gave a speech on Azerbaijan’s oil exports history, on its readiness to play an important role in the energy security of the European Union. He noted that, Azerbaijan’s proven gas reserves comprise of 2.6 trillion m3 and the country has the potential to export 12 billion m3 of natural gas. N. Aliyev informed of the prospect of a new gas fields and the readiness of Azerbaijan to supply gas to neighboring countries and notified that Georgia’s 90% energy supply is currently provided by Azerbaijan. He also noted that, Azerbaijan is interested in investment in the development of non-oil sector of the country by EU countries.


Giving a detailed speech at the conference MP Elkhan Suleymanov, congratulated the participants of the conference on the occasion of such a prestigious event and expressed his gratitude to the organizers. He gave detailed information about Azerbaijan and noted that, Azerbaijan which is located in the complex and politically sensitive geographic area has been a point of intersection of trade and commerce between East and West for centuries. 22 years ago, after the restoration of state independence of Azerbaijan has announced the building of civil, democratic, legal state and civil society on the basis of the market economy, as well as the integration to Europe of its domestic and foreign policy priorities. Being an equal member of the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and other international organizations Azerbaijan Republic has established close cooperation in various fields with EU and NATO, as the member of EU’s Eastern Partnership program, and one of the founders of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Azerbaijan currently plays a strategic role in ensuring the energy safety of the European countries and it is a reliable partner. During the years of independence, Azerbaijan’s economy has been diversified, along with the development of the oil and gas sector significant progress has been achieved in non-energy sectors, including information and communication technology, financial services, petrochemicals, transport, construction, tourism, and the development of agricultural.


E. Suleymanov stated that Azerbaijan is a multinational and multi-religious country. For centuries, people belonging to different religious and ethnic groups have been treated tolerantly. None of the numerous ethnic and religious groups has been subjected to discrimination; everyone has maintained their national and religious identity. Although today the vast majority of the population in Azerbaijan is Muslim, one of the oldest Christian church in the South Caucasus, Christian-Orthodox churches, the Catholic Church, the Jewish synagogues, Zoroastrian fire temple are located beside mosques in the country.


In addition to the statements, the Member of Parliament mentioned that in the first years of the state independence, Azerbaijan faced with Armenian aggression. As a result of aggression, the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding regions were occupied, and 1 million Azerbaijani people became refugee and internally displaced. Therefore, the elimination of aggression, the exemption of occupied territories of Azerbaijan, achieving settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of international law has been one of the main directions of the foreign policy of Azerbaijan.


Elkhan Suleymanov regretfully told that in many cases Nagorno-Karabakh is considered as a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the problem is considered as a conflict. However, this problem is not a conflict; this is military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan. So that Armenia waged a war through military aggression to Azerbaijan, and has occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Armenia is an invader, while Azerbaijan is the side exposed to occupation. The resolutions on Nagorno Karabakh problem adopted by the UN Security Council and its General Assembly, European Parliament, PACE, OSCE, and other international organizations have remained on paper, and none of them are implemented. Moreover, they do not distinguish between aggressor Armenia and Azerbaijan, victim of aggression; on the contrary, in most cases Armenia is defended. None of the international organizations does apply sanctions against this state, thus turning on green color for them to consolidate their aggressive positions.


As an example, the Member of Parliament drew the attention to the plenary session of Euronest Parliamentary Assembly held in Brussels in May of this year. He told that there Armenian Delegation and their several supportive MEPs included absurd provisions to the resolutions of this organization regarding opening of borders with the invader state, establishment of cooperation between the territories under occupation and de-facto authorities, free access o EU representatives to Nagorno Karabakh and surrounding territories without the consent of Azerbaijani Government, re-granting of the right of self-determination to Armenians who have an independent state, etc. The most regretful point is that the authors of these proposals did not consider the elimination of occupation necessary, and the support of aggressor Armenia was more important for them. However, the principal position of the Azerbaijani Delegation and their serious approach to the issue prevented the realization of their crafty plans.


Elkhan Suleymanov stated that civilians living in frontline provinces of Azerbaijan live under danger for almost 25 years. Thus, Sarsang water reservoir, which is of strategic importance for Azerbaijan, is located in the territories occupied by Armenia. Sarsang reservoir, which is highest water reservoir of Azerbaijan situated at 726 meters above sea level (with dam of 125 meters high and capacity of 560 million cubic meters) was built on the Tartar River in 1976. As a result of the occupation, 7 provinces of Azerbaijan can no longer enjoy water from this reservoir. Sarsang reservoir is currently in an emergency condition, as it was not maintained due to the occupation. Therefore, the risk of destruction in the result of possible natural disasters, technical and deliberate diversion is high. Consequently, Sarsang reservoir has currently become a serious source of threat, and this threat gradually becomes real. Thus, the lives of 400,000 (four hundred thousand) people of these 7 provinces are under serious danger. Obviously, any accident will result in both ecological crisis and mass casualties of civilians and humanitarian crisis. The Member of Parliament stated that the world community, particularly leading power centers of the world should finally show objectivity and take concrete steps to end military Armenian occupation. To my opinion, these steps should be immediately realized and a new humanitarian catastrophe due to a possible accident in Sarsang reservoir in a region should be prevented.


At the end of his speech Elkhan Suleymanov addressed participating politicians and representatives of mass media calling on them to help Azerbaijan to raise an alarm for informing world community, raising the issue before international organizations, and taking immediate measures in order to prevent a possible humanitarian catastrophe in the region as a consequence of accident in Sarsang reservoir.


Speaking in the conference, Mr. Adolfo Urso, ex Minister of Trade and Industry and President of Farefuturo Foundation told that Nagorno Karabakh problem was a forgotten conflict. He noted that the resolutions of international organizations are not implemented, the resolution of the issue is vague, and the relations of Azerbaijan with neighbors are complicated. Moreover, he talked about the dependence of Italy on oil import and stated that chemistry and engineering industry depend on this import stressing the necessity of diversification of oil import. Mentioning Sarsang reservoir, Mr. Adolfo Urso told that the collapse of similar dam in Italy in 1963 resulted in a huge catastrophe with 2000 casualties and expressed his concern regarding the threat of such accident at any time in Azerbaijan.


Gudrat Hasanguliyev, Member of Parliament called on the EU not to remain indifferent to the problems of Azerbaijan. He noted that fostering of relations with EU irritates some neighboring states, and artificial obstacles are created to this cooperation. However, Azerbaijan pursues an independent policy and makes serious achievements.


Fazil Mustafa, Member of Parliament noted that Azerbaijan and Turkey are the closest Muslim countries to the European Union. He expressed his opinions regarding considered and goal-oriented historical scenario of regional conflicts and stressed again the problems of our country.


Summarizing the conference, Mr. Gusenbauer called on media representatives to cover the threat of accident in Sarsang reservoir and possible multiple human casualties, speaking about the development of non-oil sector of Azerbaijan.


“Azerbaijan: Caucasus mosaic” reportage of Euronews channel was presented at the end of the conference.

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