Ambassador: Azerbaijan, Moldova support each other in combating separatism

Interview with Azerbaijani ambassador to Moldova Namiq Aliyev – Do you think relations between Azerbaijan and Moldova can be considered satisfactory?

– Relations between Azerbaijan and Moldova are successfully developing in a number of areas. More than 50 agreements and contracts have been signed between the two countries so far. Within international and regional organizations like the UN, Council of Europe, OSCE, BSEC, GUAM, and Eastern Partnership as well as the CIS, positions of Azerbaijan and Moldova are close or overlap. Both countries are in constant consultations at those organizations, offering traditional support to each other. Considering the level of current partnership between Azerbaijan and Moldova, closeness of positions regarding international issues of mutual interest, and commitment to universal values and principles of mutual respect, constant dialogue between the countries is one of the actual issues. Strengthening interaction within international and regional organizations, holding political consultations on a constant basis, offering mutual and comprehensive support is extremely important. For instance, Moldova voted for Azerbaijan in the Oct. 2011 election to the UN Security Council’s non-permanent membership.

– How about bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Moldova in the humanitarian sphere?

– Humanitarian and cultural relations between Azerbaijan and Moldova have been developing successfully over recent years. Azerbaijan Cultural Days were held in Moldova from 11 to 15 November 2012. During the Cultural Days, Azerbaijani film days, plays of Academic Drama Theatre named after Samad Vurghun and Azerbaijani cuisine days were held. At the same time, the opening ceremony was held of the reconstructed garden and statue of Nizami Ganjavi in Chisinau. Moldova Cultural Days were held in Azerbaijan from 29 April to 3 May 2014. The embassy also arranged mutual visits of Azerbaijani and Moldovan artists. During those visits, the artists’ works were put on display.

Days of Azerbaijani cuisine was successfully held in Chisinau at the end of 2014. As part of the event, the book “Culinaria Azera” ” (Azerbaijani cuisine) of Tahir Amiraslanov, president of the National Culinary Association in Azerbaijan, chairman of the Traditional Food Committee under UNESCO, was published an presented by the embassy. A pavilion of Azerbaijani carpet was opened in the first Moldovan Carpet Fair held in Chisinau in December 2014 on the initiative of the Moldovan Ministry of Culture. Noting the positive development of relations between the two countries, it should be stressed that economic potential has not been fully used yet. There are a lot to be done in this field.

– Moldova is a country affected by separatism like Azerbaijan…

– Azerbaijan and Moldova are close countries, as both of them faced military separatism and there are similar conflicts in their territories. There is also a difference. Armenia’s territorial claims against Azerbaijan are based on ethno-territorial conflict, while there is a political and territorial conflict in Moldova. Azerbaijan is still suffering from aggression and the problem of one million refugees, but the conflict is more political in Moldova. However, the two countries always support each other in these issues honoring the principle of respect for territorial integrity. We are always focusing on deepening of interaction for successful cooperation of our countries within international organizations, establishment of common security space, enhancement of economic and humanitarian cooperation and solution of the conflicts. Mutual support has always been demonstrated at the international level. Representatives of the two countries regularly meet, closely cooperate and support each other before voting on important issues within international organizations.

– Are high-level mutual visits planned between the countries?

– Moldovan and Azerbaijani officials regularly hold meetings within international forums and on bilateral basis. In this regard, the work of the Intergovernmental Commission which started to operate on 25 Oct. 2004 is noteworthy. The commission is headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Yagub Eyyubov from the Azerbaijani side. However, from the Moldovan side, the post is vacant. This is caused by the political crisis in Moldova. The Azerbaijan-Moldova Intergovernmental Commission on economic cooperation held its third meeting in Chisinau on 26 April 2012. At the meeting, the Azerbaijani co-chairman of the commission Eyyubov was received by Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti. The outcomes of the meeting were reflected in the relevant protocol. The Moldovan PM paid a visit to Azerbaijan on 17-19 January 2012. However, the recent political instability in Moldova, long-time intra-party wrangles in the parliament and government crisis inhibit the organization of high-level visits. It can be noted that the prime minister post was replaced four times in Moldova in the past year. Therefore, the Intergovernmental Commission hasn’t held the fourth meeting so far due to the reasons not depending on the Azerbaijani side. We hope that a new government will be established soon and either the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission or high-level mutual visits will then take place.