Azerbaijan Ambassador Anar Imanov writes for Việt Nam News to mark the country's Independence Day.
On May 28, 2022, the Azerbaijani people celebrate the 104th anniversary of Independence Day. On this day, more than a century ago, Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) was founded as the first secular democratic state in the East and entire Muslim world.
The establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic on May 28, 1918, was a historic event and one of the glorious pages in the history of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's first Republic accepted the attributes of statehood, created its own parliament for the first time in the East, gave women equal voting rights with men, took important decisions and practical steps in the fields of state-building and military, economy and culture, education and health. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic brought together European democratic values and features of Eastern culture on one side with secular and national values on the other and established a legal and secular state.
Unfortunately, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic existed only for 23 months, and on April 28, 1920, the Azerbaijani people lost their sovereignty for a long 70 years. On October 18, 1991, after the collapse of the USSR, Azerbaijan regained its independence and announced itself as the legal successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
|Shusha fortress is a famed historical site in Azerbaijan. Photo courtesy of the embassy|
With the restoration of independence, the Republic of Azerbaijan faced the most important and painful problem - territorial conflicts with the Republic of Armenia that lasted for almost 30 years. More than 1 million Azerbaijanis had become refugees and internally displaced persons.
The Second Karabakh War in 2020 with Armenia lasted 44 days, and the occupied territories of Azerbaijan were liberated by military and political means.
Hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis displaced from there in the early 1990s have hoped to finally return home. However, it is a long road due to mines, lack of housing, and infrastructure. Rebuilding communities, restoring prosperity, and preserving the region's rich cultural heritage are the cornerstone of the country's current policy.
Nowadays, the restoration process of liberated Azerbaijani territories is proceeding at a rapid pace. The restoration of these territories means building the modern infrastructure and economy from scratch: demining the territory, restoring transport infrastructure, constructing houses and industrial buildings, etc. As the President of Azerbaijan stated, those lands will be turned into heaven. It will be a territory of green energy, smart cities and villages, high technology infrastructure, and an eco-friendly economy.
Companies from friendly countries, including Việt Nam, are welcome to participate in the rebuilding activities. Azerbaijan sees the South Caucasus as a region of peace, prosperity and cooperation.
At present, Azerbaijan has become one of the active and dynamically developing countries of the world and is being integrated into the international community, which makes it a recognisable and reliable partner in the international arena. Huge energy, transport and infrastructure projects have been implemented, and the new sea and airports and roads were built, such as the Alat International Seaport and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.
As a result of the carrying out of the infrastructure projects, Azerbaijan plays a vital role in the "East-West" and "North-South" International Transport Corridor and, by using its amazing geographic location, connects Europe with Asia. Due to the operation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, the volume of the goods transported from Asia to Europe over Azerbaijan has already been significantly increased. To transport Azerbaijani oil and gas to world markets, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and TANAP oil pipelines and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline have been constructed.
The development of relations with Southeast Asian countries is one of the priorities of the foreign policy of Azerbaijan, and Việt Nam is one of the key partners for Azerbaijan in this region.
Traditionally warm and friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Việt Nam developed in the years before the restoration of the independence of Azerbaijan. As it is known, in 1959, President Hồ Chí Minh visited Azerbaijan and requested its leaders to help Việt Nam in building its oil production. The Azerbaijani side supported this appeal, and thousands of Azerbaijani specialists participated in the reconstruction and development of post-war Việt Nam and Vietnamese students studied in higher educational institutions in Azerbaijan.
At present, relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam are actively developing, and mutually beneficial cooperation expands and deepens. It should be especially acknowledged the political component of bilateral relations and, in particular, the importance of mutual visits of the Presidents of the two countries, including the state visit of H.E. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, to Việt Nam on 18-19 May 2014, as well as official visit Trương Tấn Sang, former President of the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam to Azerbaijan on 13-15 of May 2015. Undoubtedly, these visits gave a strong impetus to the accelerated development of the mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation and identified areas for future expansion of these relations in various fields.
The establishment of the Intergovernmental Commission was an important step aimed at developing bilateral relations. Of course, its activity gives an additional impetus to trade and economic and scientific cooperation. In this regard, I would like to stress that Azerbaijan and Việt Nam have already planned and implemented several measures to boost economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.
At the same time, cooperation between the two countries in the humanitarian field is also developing. In this regard, the establishment and activity of the Việt Nam-Azerbaijan Friendship Association and the Centre for Science, Culture and History of Azerbaijan play an important role in cultural exchange of people-to-people contacts.
Azerbaijan and Việt Nam enjoy a traditionally friendly relationship, and I am confident that we will witness significant development of mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in all spheres in the near future. VNS