During a visit to Sochi on 3 October, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev gave an interview to Channel One TV channel ahead of the meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club. ONA presents the interview
- Hello. Channel One. Incidentally, I am a MGIMO graduate. So in a sense we are ...
- In what year?
- In 1998. The Faculty of International Journalism.
Our first question is about the events that are taking place here today, that is Valdai. The theme is "The Dawn of the East". In other words, it is about the emergence of the East, the strengthening of the eastern direction. What role do Azerbaijan, Russia and Russian-Azerbaijani relations play in this process?
- Azerbaijan is geographically located between the East and West. This is why we participate both in international organizations that unite countries of the East and, for example, in an organization such as the Council of Europe. Geography, of course, has influenced and is still influencing geopolitics. Azerbaijan today uses its geographical location, and I believe that it has managed to achieve the fact we play a role in establishing dialogue between countries of East and West in the humanitarian sphere, in the transport sector and in all other areas, today.
Russia is the biggest country in the world and therefore, of course, the role of Russia not only in the affairs of the Asian continent but also on a global scale is quite large. It is growing, and Russia’s potential and power are increasing.
As for our bilateral relations, they are very positive, have very good dynamics, cover almost all spheres of life and are very trusting. My meetings with President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – there were four last year and two this year – have given a very serious impetus to the development of bilateral cooperation. They also positively affect the situation in our region.
- World order and view from the East. What principles should the world order be based on when viewed from the East?
- I think that irrespective of the angle, the main principle should be compliance with the norms and principles of international law. Unfortunately, they are flagrantly violated and there is a selective approach to respect for these principles. As a country that has suffered from non-compliance with the principles of international law, including those related to the occupation of our territory by Armenia of course, Azerbaijan defends the priority nature of international law at all international platforms. The UN Security Council sometimes implements resolutions within days, but in our case they have remained on paper for more than 25 years. Thus, this leading world institute is somewhat discredited. Therefore, I think that the priority nature of international law should be the main factor in the world order. But the reality is that this is not the case. Little depends on a country such as Azerbaijan in global world affairs. Therefore, I think that leading countries of the world have the main responsibility to ensure that the principles of world order are respected.
- I would now like to ask a couple of questions about MGIMO. What memories do you have from the institute?
- I have the warmest memories. Fifteen years of my life are connected with the institute. Studying, graduate school, work, a lot of friends and acquaintances – of course, these years were very important for me both in terms of maturity and in terms of gaining knowledge. I am in regular contact with the leadership of the institute. I initiated the first MGIMO Alumni Forum, which was held in Baku several years ago and has now become a permanent platform. I participated in the celebrations dedicated to the 60th anniversary of MGIMO. Also, on the eve of the 75th anniversary, I congratulate all my friends, fellow students and teachers on this remarkable anniversary.
- And what role do you think MGIMO has played in your life? If there had been another university, would everything have turned out differently?
- I don’t know, it’s hard to say what would have happened. But of course, MGIMO has played a very important role. Because the knowledge I got there helped me a lot in my future work very much. After I left the institute, I did not work in my profession, so to speak. But already as President the knowledge and skills that I received at MGIMO have been very useful, including the knowledge of foreign languages.
-Thank you very much!