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Independence Day of Israel's ally in the South Caucasus region

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Baku, 18 October 2018 – Newtimes.az

By Arye Gut

The State of Israel was the one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan.

The Republic of Azerbaijan celebrated its independence yesterday, October 18, regaining it after the USSR fell. Exactly 27 years ago, after the adoption of the Constitutional Act, Azerbaijan gained its long-awaited independence, having surmounted many challenges. History inevitably proves that preserving independence is much more difficult than gaining it. Azerbaijan twice had the opportunity to become a sovereign state during the 20th century.

Azerbaijan, the first secular democratic state in the Islamic world, was proclaimed on May 28, 1918. This year the country marks the 100th anniversary of its creation. The establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) was a paramount historical event and one of the glorious pages in Azerbaijan’s history. For the first time, all citizens of the country were granted equal rights regardless of social status, gender or religion. Women received the right to vote on an equal basis with men, even before the United States and some European countries of Europe.

The ADR, being the first parliamentary republic in the history of Azerbaijan, was the first model of a democratic secular state based on the rule of law in the East, including the Turkic-Muslim world. Today, independent and strong Azerbaijan is a worthy successor of the ADR.

The Azerbaijani people, restoring state independence in 1991, made a use of the rich statehood traditions of the ADR to establish the independent State of Azerbaijan based on this wonderful historical heritage.

Today, Israel’s reliable partner and ally in Eurasia is a strong, independent state and a leader of geopolitical and geo-economic processes in the South Caucasus region. The Republic of Azerbaijan is a reliable and responsible member of the international community. With various geoeconomic and transport-cooperation projects, it contributes to the expansion of the borders of peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond. In other words, Azerbaijan today is an exporter of security and stability. Moreover, the country directly supports the efforts of the international community to prevent modern-day threats.

THE COUNTRY implements a successful foreign policy, despite the ongoing aggression of Armenia – which occupied 20% of Azerbaijan lands – psychological war, disinformation campaigns and fake news being conducted by the world Armenian lobby. The result of this purposeful activity is that the entire international community supports the territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of Azerbaijan’s borders and considers it necessary to resolve the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict because of these realities.

It is a fact that Azerbaijan is situated in the complex "geopolitical sandwich,'' where unpredictable geopolitical actors such as Russia, Turkey and Iran are located. Despite the geopolitical labyrinth of the region, Azerbaijan successfully pursues its multi-vector foreign policy and manages to maintain stability.

The State of Israel was the one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan. Today it is a factual reality that no country in Eurasia has closer or warmer ties with Israel than Azerbaijan. The 26-year history of diplomatic relations between the two states proved the necessity and viability of a strategic relationship between the Jewish state and this state with a Muslim majority. These two friendly states indeed act as true and reliable strategic partners.

Flourishing Azerbaijani-Israeli annual trade amounts to nearly $4.5 billion. Previously focusing on the oil and gas industry, it is now expanding into other segments of the economy, including agriculture, hi tech, healthcare, military and intelligence cooperation. And Israel is one of the main buyers of Azerbaijani oil in the world market.

Today, Azerbaijan occupies an important place in the international arena, and continues to maintain and strengthen its geopolitical position in the South Caucasus. It is no coincidence that Azerbaijan accounts for the 80% of the region’s gross domestic product. The balanced, pragmatic and multi-vector foreign policy of Azerbaijan shows that the country successfully manages to convey its position to the international community. Azerbaijan is the largest and most developed state in the South Caucasus by territory, population and economy.

AZERBAIJAN’S PRESIDENT, Ilham Aliyev, is the author and initiator of transportation projects connecting the world’s oceans and continents along the East-West, North-South and South-West routes. Azerbaijan is a country contributing to global energy security, including that of Europe.

Aliyev has succeeded in realizing his vision to make Azerbaijan a stable, independent, prosperous, religiously tolerant and modern state. Multiculturalism and tolerance have historically been the lifestyle of Azerbaijanis – and today, regardless of their national identity, language or religion, these have become integral in the daily life of every citizen.

Azerbaijan has a good partnership with its 25,000-strong Jewish community. It has always been a multinational country. Therefore, people living there have always been equal, regardless of their nationality. Under Aliyev’s patronage, two synagogues and the largest Jewish educational center in the South Caucasus have been built. Plans are in place for the first Azerbaijani Jewish museum, which will be the first such museum in the South Caucasus.

The ancient village of Qirmizi Qesebe in northern Azerbaijan, with more than 4,500 residents, is the only known all-Jewish village outside of Israel, a point of pride for Azerbaijanis. Aliyev has earned the respect of a wide swath of Israeli society for his dedication to the country’s Jews. The relationships between Israel and Azerbaijan, and between Azerbaijani Jews and Muslims, cannot be explained away as simple mutual self-interest. Common values and a shared history permeate their modern relationship. The two countries are enriched by the human connections between them and a determination to maintain diverse and religiously tolerant societies.

The author is a Political Analyst.

The Jerusalem Post

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