No announcement yet.

BAKU: Isa Qambar: Azerbaijan's Membership Of NATO Does Not Mean An I

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • BAKU: Isa Qambar: Azerbaijan's Membership Of NATO Does Not Mean An I

    By Ilya Faynzilberq
    Oct 3 2008

    A interview with leader of Musavat Party Isa Qambar.

    [Correspondent] Isa bay [mode of address], the Parliamentary
    Assembly of the Council of Europe has voted against stripping the
    Russian delegation of its voting rights in the CE despite the fact
    that the whole world witnessed Russia's military aggression against
    Georgia and the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and
    Abkhazia, which are integral parts of universally recognized Georgian
    territories. How would you explain such a position of PACE, and does
    this stance not encourage the Kremlin aggressive policy?

    The West has to abandon "post cold war" policy

    [Qambar] The PACE resolution is the continuation of Europe's "post
    cold war" policy with regard to Russia; the USA and leading European
    states still hope very much that it will embark on the course of
    democratization. Although, this hope has collapsed long ago and the
    obvious reality is that Russia's positioning in the capacity of a state
    roughly violating democratic values and openly pursuing an aggressive,
    neo-imperial policy; European countries continue to believe that the
    way to kindness goes only through magnanimity but not via rigidity. In
    my view, this is an erroneous way which will not be successful and
    will not accelerate the democratic processes in Russia and will not
    be conducive to the establishment of the worldwide stability.

    [Correspondent] Why is Europe taking such a wrong step, openly playing
    to Russia by violating the principle of territorial integrity of the
    state by recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

    [Qambar] To all appearances, Europe has chosen a way of the least
    resistance. In my view, this is an erroneous way and it would be
    good for Europe to make every effort, first of all, to make Russia
    to relinquish its aggressive policy with regard to the neighbouring
    countries. Moreover, this position of Europe contradicts the interests
    of Georgia which became a victim of the Russian aggression and
    democratization processes though pledges to be backed by both the
    USA and European countries.

    The way of the least resistance chosen by Europe will not lead to a
    resolution of the existing problems, on the contrary, will aggravate
    them. I am convinced that Europe has to realize the importance of the
    moment and embark on the course of considering issues of democracy,
    stability and security worldwide in general context. In other words,
    Europe should realize that without coercing Russia to exact adherence
    to international norms, it would be impossible to establish stability
    and security worldwide as a whole and in the South Caucasus region
    in particular.

    Therefore, I consider that PACE should have demanded honouring of
    all commitments assumed by all members of this organization and took
    a more critical position with regard to Russia.

    [Correspondent] Well, how should Azerbaijan build relations with
    PACE, Europe as a whole, after it "has chosen the least resistance"
    and undecided about applying sanctions against Russia which openly
    violates the principle of territorial integrity of states?

    [Qambar] US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently reiterated
    her old thesis that over the last 60 years, the USA sacrificed freedom
    in the Middle East to the stability having neither this nor that at
    the end. I would like very much that this thesis be transformed from
    a spick-and-span phrase to the foundation of the US real policy and
    the free world. Naturally, Azerbaijan is interested in building
    relations with all countries and Russia based on equal rights,
    mutually beneficial relations and respect.

    Nevertheless, one should not forget that a considerable part of
    the Azerbaijani territories has been occupied by Armenia and the
    Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict has not been so far resolved. Our
    country is facing a need for a choice of the further ways of strategic
    development. And in my view, Azerbaijan should make its choice towards
    integration into Europe.

    [Correspondent] Nevertheless, Georgia and Ukraine have long been
    knocking at the doors of NATO and have not so far become fully-fledged
    members of the North Atlantic alliance. Who guarantees that Azerbaijan
    would be accepted to the ranks of the full members of NATO if official
    Baku abandons its balanced foreign policy and states unambiguously
    its desire to join the alliance?

    NATO membership does not mean immediate return of lands

    [Qambar] Naturally, even if today official Baku states about its
    aspiration for a full membership of NATO, this does not mean that we
    shall get up as a member of this organization tomorrow. There exists
    a whole series of procedures which Azerbaijan should proceed in order
    to join NATO.

    Moreover, let us be straight open, our country does not meet standards
    of this organization both in the sphere of the military building and
    in democratization. Azerbaijan also needs to resolve a host of other
    problems to get to the genuine market economy.

    Here we should also underline that as of lately, a high-ranking
    Russian politician said that even if Georgia were a member of NATO,
    Russia would treat Georgia similarly as it did before eyes of the world
    community. This shows that if countries such as Georgia, Ukraine and
    Azerbaijan join NATO, they should get firm security guarantees from
    the North Atlantic alliance in case of a military aggression against
    them by Russia.

    [Correspondent] Will Azerbaijan's membership of NATO be a guarantee
    for the return of the occupied by Armenia 20 per cent of our lands?

    [Qambar] Azerbaijan's membership of NATO does not mean an immediate
    return of the occupied territories of our country. Nevertheless, a
    resolution of this issue will become real if all three countries of our
    region become members of the same security system by sharing the whole
    system of values of NATO. So far we witness that Georgia is openly
    stating about its desire for a full membership of NATO. Armenia is
    satisfied with a "title of an outpost" of Russia in the Caucasus, and
    Azerbaijan hopes to take advantage of a so-called mutually-distanced
    and balanced foreign policy. Under such conditions, the prospect of
    establishing stability and peace in the South Caucasus and the return
    of the occupied Azerbaijani lands seem to me very vague.