Azerbaijani-Serbian Relations Booming Thanks to Mutual Interests

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Baku, 9 June 2017 –

Nebojsa Rodic

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of Azerbaijan

Old folk wisdom says "We do not choose our neighbors but we decide on our friends”. Thoughts on friendship occupy human spirit from ancient times. Greek philosopher Aristotle said: "Friendship is one soul in two bodies”. So, friendship between peoples is a special form of attachment, which is not in itself a relationship between private individuals. It permeates the whole being of a one nation, but it still occurs in the relationships that create citizens i.e. "Known and unknown citizens, politicians but also those whose profession is not to do it but they are linking inextricably being of the nation”.

Do you know who is Zulfali ALIEV – vigorous and well conditioned old man from Sabirabad? Wonderful husband, loving father and a proud grandfather. – A man who has no hand, but has all the love in this world. Love both for those whose shell ripped off his arm and those whom donated part of his body. He did not complain, never, not even when he was called by the state as a young man, moved along the path of freedom and passed all the way of combat against the enemy in the World War II. He liberated territory by territory with his fearless and courageous comrades, state by the state, and so came to the former Yugoslavia. And there, together with the National Liberation Army partisans and his comrades from the famous 223 Belgrade`s Division brought freedom to the Belgrade, capital of Republic of Serbia. Together with the Yugoslav partisans, Azerbaijan Zulfail Aliyev from Sabirabad with hundreds of his countrymen continued through the Europe and on the way left part of his body as a pledge for the future freedom love and friendship among nations. It is well known in my country, in my Serbia, who is Zufali Aliyev. Everyone knows fearless and brave Azerbaijan fighters.

And four decades after that, nationwide leader HE Mr. Heydar Aliyev in July 1986, visits Belgrade, as a friend and as a first Deputy of Soviet Government in that time. During his visit he mentiones his wise thoughts on all the changes that need to be taken place. He informs the public of Serbia about this in great interview that he gives to "Politika”, the oldest newspaper in the Balkans. We should here also mention two thoughts of nationwide leader HE Mr. Heydar Aliyev: one relates to the need to preserve peace and reduce armaments in the world as well as to the readiness of countries that through the peacekeeping efforts go towards reasonable compromises and "qualitatively higher level of flexibility in foreign policy” including inevitably respecting of international documents.

These are the foundations on which we can say that the friendship between the Azerbaijan Republic and the Republic of Serbia is steady, stable and based on international respect. Next year we will mark two decades of diplomatic relations and more intensive political and economic cooperation. Meetings of President HE Mr. Ilham Aliyev with his colleague from Serbia were already implemented in 2010, 2011 and 2013, on the occasion of the official visit of the President of Republic of Serbia HE Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, when Declaration on Friendly Relations and Strategic Partnership between the two states was signed in Baku. This document became the basis for not only bilateral but also for common performance in multilateral relations. However, like any written document it depends on the people who need to respect it and contribute to its life. And for this we have ready citizens of both our states. We have the monument of nationwide leader HE Mr. Heydar Aliyev in Belgrade, in the most beautiful park, and a magnificent monument of the great scientist, a Serb, Mr. Nikola Tesla in the center of Baku. There is no man in the world that has not heard of this great inventor and for his contribution to the development of civilization.

There is not a citizen of Serbia as well who has not heard of the Company AzVirt that constructs in my home country, according to the latest world standards, part of the highway through the most beautiful part of Serbia. Every employee, every worker in AzVirt is a true ambassador of his beautiful country in Serbia.

We have achieved enough but we can do much more and much better. Good political relations are not transferred with full capacity into good and growing economic relations. Partly it is because of several years of economic crisis in my homeland, and partly because of economic problems, primarily due to oil prices, that affected Azerbaijan. This is a temptation that we are passing through together in order to after solutions to these problems we would be truly recognized and reliable partners both in South Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus.

What has always been unchanged in the relations of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Serbia is the commitment to the consistent implementation of the territorial integrity of each member state of the United Nations, the resolution of the conflicts by peaceful means and political means with the refraining from the threats and use of force. Unfortunately, in the history of both our two countries we have witnessed the existence of double standards in international relations, which contributed to illegal seize of the part of national territory by force and so to violating the international law.

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