“The statements of U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar meet neither today’s spirit of relations between the two countries, nor the requirements of the Vienna Convention regarding diplomatic relations adopted in 1961,” Ali Hasanov, the head of the Public and Political Issues Department of Azerbaijani Presidential Administration told Trend Agency on May 19.
Hasanov made the remarks with regards to several negative comments made by Morningstar in an interview with the Azadlig radio regarding Azerbaijan’s state of democracy and domestic and foreign policies.
He pointed out that Azerbaijan and the United States have always had good relations over the past 20 years.
“Today, the ties between the two countries are quite stable, and cooperation in various areas has reached the level of strategic partnership. Energy security, trans-national transport and communication policy, the policy of corridors, fight against terrorism, joint participation in international peacekeeping missions, and others are the important issues on the agenda of bilateral partnership,” he said.
Hasanov went on to say that based on the international law, Azerbaijan extensively cooperates with the entire trans-national world, including the U.S., within the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, mutual trust, and fruitful and effective cooperation with friendly and partner countries.
He noted that as a partner, Azerbaijan has always fulfilled its international commitments in a responsible manner.
“I believe it is not good when the U.S. or another big state or international organization interferes in Azerbaijan’s internal affairs or foreign policy in any way, seeking to control it and teaching people how to live. I believe these attempts will be unsuccessful,” Hasanov stressed.
Hasanov said a diplomatic mission’s main function includes supporting friendly relations between the two countries, adding that unfortunately, these requirements have been somewhat ignored in Richard Morningstar’s statements.
“I believe that his biased and prejudiced comments on Azerbaijan’s domestic and foreign policy, use of impermissible rhetoric, classification of an independent country’s authorities, and attempts to impose one’s own world view and interests of one’s own country on another independent state cannot be regarded as examples of professional diplomacy,” Hasanov underscored.
He also said most of the allegations in Morningstar’s interview are reminiscent of subjective provisions in the reports of some foreign NGOs that are under the influence of the Armenian diaspora and have been famous for their anti-Azerbaijani position for many years.
Hasanov stressed that such similarities are thought-provoking and strongly concern Azerbaijan.
“Some external circles attract political parties and NGOs to their side, illegally finance them, and try to steer them according to their own will and against our national interests,” Hasanov said.
He stressed that the main mission of these structures that operate on the basis of specific instructions is to attempt to tarnish Azerbaijan’s international image, form a negative opinion of the country, and support and create the grounds for the anti-Azerbaijani campaign of the external powers that they serve.
He emphasized that Azerbaijan has very good and friendly relations and partnerships with all the regional countries except Armenia, which has occupied 20 percent of its territory..
“Armenia is the only country threatening regional security and conducting an aggressive policy in the region,” Hasanov noted.
Saying that this trend is not new, he noted that Western officials and media have repeatedly tried to disrupt Azerbaijan’s relations with major regional countries through various allegations and unfounded judgments and information.
“People are wondering what kind of a serious threat exists for Azerbaijan’s independence that the U.S. ambassador speaks about the need to ‘raise one’s voice in the name of independence and sovereignty’,” Hasanov said.
He stressed that President Aliyev has repeatedly expressed his opinion on this issue and strongly condemned the existing double standards.
“Indeed, the U.S. has unequivocally condemned aggression and spoken about international laws and territorial integrity with regards to other similar conflicts in the post-Soviet area. But when it comes to solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the principle of ‘self-determination of people’ is recalled along with territorial integrity,” Hasanov said.
He noted that neither U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick, nor Morningstar, have spoken directly about Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity which was confirmed by the UN and the OSCE in 1992.
They only speak about returning the seven occupied regions, Hasanov said.”It is proposed that the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh be determined only through negotiations, rather than in accordance with international law.”
“The question is why? Doesn’t the U.S. consider Nagorno-Karabakh the territory of Azerbaijan? Then how are we supposed to understand the statements that have been made for 20 years by most of the senior officials of that country – that the U.S. recognizes and supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity?” Hasanov stressed.
“What lies behind such a contradiction? How can it be possible that in some cases the international community condemns aggressions and occupations, makes demands, and uses economic sanctions and force when necessary, but when it comes to Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, they say the parties should come to an agreement and the international community will give its support? What agreement can be reached under international law between an aggressor and a victim of aggression?” he said.
He believes that it would have been better if Warlick and Ambassador Morningstar talked about other issues as well.
“For example, why does the U.S. allocate hundreds of millions of dollars to the separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia every year? Where have they spent the nearly $2 billion that the U.S. allocated to Armenia and the separatist regime so far? Why does the U.S. have a representative office for this fictional regime? Why do they create conditions for the heads of this terror regime to hold a marathon in the U.S. several times a year to collect millions of dollars? What real steps has the U.S. taken so far as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group?” Hasanov asked.
He went on to note that there have been no clear and satisfactory answers to these questions so far.
“The Azerbaijani society is tired of repetitive words and double standards and no longer believes in the sincerity of the authors of these statements. The Azerbaijani public believes that the political structures of the U.S., those which head the state or those aspiring for power, are more concerned about their upcoming elections and are sacrificing the strategic interests of their country for the interests of the Armenian lobby,” Hasanov underscored.
Asked whether the U.S. ambassador’s statement will negatively affect Azerbaijan’s relations with the U.S., Hasanov said the two countries’ strategic interests and friendly relations require the conservation of partnership and its development.
“This will only be possible if mutual trust, sincere atmosphere, rejection of unnecessary steps such as interfering in the internal affairs of each other, and a real contribution to the development of bilateral ties exist,” Hasanov underscored.
Azerbaijan considers these principles the main criteria in its foreign policy and relations with all friendly countries, and expects an adequate position from its partners, he said.
“We believe that all U.S. officials, including Morningstar, should take these realities into account and avoid biased and unfounded allegations and rhetoric that is contrary to bilateral relations,” Hasanov added.
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