Jeyhun Osmanli: “Clinton’s meeting with youth shows US interest in strong ties with Azerbaijan”

Jeyhun Osmanli

APA interviews Jeyhun Osmanli, chairman of the Ireli public union.

What are your impressions of the meeting with the US Secretary of State?

I would like to note that in the beginning of the meeting Mrs. Clinton said she had come not only to speak but also to listen. The meeting was allotted 20 minutes by the protocol, but it lasted for 50 minutes. Another interesting moment is that there was an opinion spread in the post-Soviet area that the United States are going to give away its interests in the post-Soviet countries in favor of its definite interests.

The route of the tourney – Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia- was not chosen by accident. The visit has showed that the United States has its interests in these five countries and it will continue its activity here in line with its interests. The meeting with the youth showed that the United States are interested in strong ties with Azerbaijan both today and tomorrow. This was also a message to the people who say ‘The interest to Azerbaijan with weaken as soon as its energy resources are exhausted’.

Which issues did the Azerbaijani young people showed interest in?

It was not so easy for Azerbaijan to build and develop friendly relations with the United States, since it is surrounded with Russia, Iran and Armenia, which is contrary to the US interests. Armenia is, in fact, the outpost of Russia. What does the United States promise to Azerbaijan instead? Clinton has declared three moments on Azerbaijan that create concern in Obama’s administration.

She listed the Karabakh conflict among them saying she wishes this conflict to be settled during her term. The Secretary of State said she had always put efforts to settle the Karabakh conflict, which were in vain, however. She stressed that her visit will give a new impetus to the settlement process and pledged to continue efforts in this direction. Mrs.Clinton noted that the United States will keep this issues under control, as a country co-chairing in the Minsk Group.

Azerbaijan’s security is the second priority issue for the United States. She said some countries and some people cannot accept the independence of Azerbaijan. In these conditions, the United States is closely watching the issues related to the security of Azerbaijan’s border, of oil pipelines and political security, as well as other issues of national security of Azerbaijan and in these cases the United States will be next to Azerbaijan.

She listed the consistent support to the human capital in Azerbaijan as the third priority issue. Only educated and professional people can develop high ideas. If we are interested in development of democracy and freedom of speech, we need to provide for the consistent development of the general education and intellectual level of these people. This means we must invest in these people for their development.

The Secretary of State noted that the United States itself faced great difficulties on the way to democracy and added that there was a time when only white and rich people had a right to vote in the United States. But today the United States follows a different way. Those who state existence of problems with democracy in different countries must understand that the democracy in those countries is round and they can make achievements through making slow but big steps.

Did Clinton stress Azerbaijan’s achievements?

Yes, she said Azerbaijan takes correct steps in a number of directions. Despite being in an uneasy region, today Azerbaijan continues developing a number of economic spheres, balancing its policy and protecting economic interests, as well as ensuring consistent developing. Hillary Clinton said “only economic development promotes other spheres” stressing the transnational projects, especially the Nabucco pipeline, that are under implementation. Modern and secular society is currently built in Azerbaijan along with implementation of economic projects. She also stressed the period of Azerbaijan’s fight against extremism.

She was asked why the United States adopted Amendment 907 targeting Azerbaijan in period when Azerbaijan needed friendly support, when war started and when we were a victim, she said she wants the elimination of this article. Her husband Bill Clinton and ex-president George Bush were also against this amendment along with the current administration. The Secretary of State noted that she had been working for the elimination of this ban throughout 18 months of her activity, however, there are documents in America which have remained documents for 40 years.

Hillary Clinton has declared in Georgia that the United states will not reconcile with occupation of Georgian lands. Has she said anything of this kind regarding the Armenian occupation of Nagorno Karabakh in Baku?

Though no declaration of this kind has been made, the United States does not doubt that Azerbaijan is a victim of occupation of its lands. I do not think today that this issue is doubted in the US administration. I know they realize it well though they keep silent about it. However, naturally, we have not heard any declaration clearly demanding from Armenia to disavow the occupation. Probably, this is caused by the US unwillingness to lose Armenia completely. However, the US-Armenian cooperation does not have a long history.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan has known Armenia for already 200 years. Probably, we understand that the US efforts to build sincere ties with Armenia are in vain, but the United States still has hopes for better. I think they do not doubt that Armenia is an aggressor country. 20 years ago we tried to inform everything about Azerbaijan and our being a victim country in this conflict. But 10 years ago the world understood the truth about Azerbaijan which promoted a different process. Azerbaijan is now well known in the world which recognizes that Nagorno Karabakh and seven regions around it which are occupied by Armenians belong to Azerbaijan.


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