14 November 2001 New York

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Mr. President,

This session of the General Assembly is being held at a very difficult time for all of us. Congratulating Mr. Han Seung-Soo on his unanimous election to the post of the President of the 56th session of the General Assembly, I sincerely wish him all success in guiding the work of the session and would like to assure him of our full support.

Under the current circumstances, enhancement of the United Nations effectiveness becomes increasingly important, and in this regard I would like to express our special gratitude to Mr. Harri Holkeri whose activity as the President of the 55th session of the General Assembly became an example of the commitment to the revitalization process of the Organization.

We regard the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the United Nations and Mr. Kofi Annan as an evidence of the recognition by the international community of a special role played by the Organization and of the great services of its Secretary-General. Congratulating our Secretary-General, I would like to stress that we place special hopes on him and to reiterate our support for his activities aimed at achieving those very objectives for the sake of which the United Nations was created.

Mr. President,

The Millennium Summit identified challenges in the context of the global development that can be addressed only through coordinated efforts by the entire international community within the United Nations system.

Only a year ago nobody could foresee the tragedy that has fallen upon all of us and has shown the depth of the abyss on the edge of which the world has found itself. The dramatic events that struck the United States make it imperative for us to take a new look at the ways of the global development in the twenty first century.

Threats and risks in the context of globalization acquire new scale and character, and the international community changes its approaches to them accordingly. Today, an attack against one of us is considered as an attack against all of us. Will this approach become universal?

Azerbaijan suffered from a series of horrific terrorist attacks that had been part and parcel of the conflict imposed on Azerbaijan by neighbouring Armenia. Alas, our warnings concerning the terrorist threat as well as our appeals to the international community to combine our efforts in the fight against this evil, which were repeatedly made from this very podium remained unheeded.

Terrorism is closely linked to aggressive separatism and other forms of extremism, as well as to organized crime, drug and arms trafficking, and other illegal activities that are literally flourished in the conflict zones and provide terrorist and separatist groupings with financial resources. Terrorism and separatism get a large-scale outside support from both states and private structures.

 Response to these threats must not be selective. They can be eliminated only through adequate and comprehensive counter-measures undertaken on the basis of the principles and norms of international law against all those who use terror to achieve their goals, leaving them no hope of escaping unpunished. Nothing can justify terrorism. There should be no room for double standards, palliatives and narrow national interests.

We all have witnessed many manifestations of terrorism that took place in different regions of the world and under different slogans and covers. This fact by itself clearly shows that the phenomenon of terrorism is not associated with any particular religion. Therefore, the fight against terrorism should not be a fight against a religion. We must take effective measures in order to reverse a dangerous trend of imprudent instigation to hostility between Islam and Christianity.

The legal, political, military and other actions taken today by the international coalition are not the only prerequisites for a successful fight against terrorism. It is necessary to redouble efforts aimed at assisting the least developed countries in the process of their social and economic development and at enabling them to use the opportunities provided by globalization.

Mr. President,

Unfortunately, in many regions of the world we still see violent conflicts that claim lives of tens of thousands of people and undermine sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of states.

One of them is the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Covering its claims on the Azerbaijani territory with the slogan of the struggle of the Armenian population of the Nagorny-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan for their self-determination, the Republic of Armenia has occupied this Azerbaijani territory, as well as seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijan, and conducted ethnic cleansing on the occupied territory that resulted in expelling one million Azerbaijanis from their homes.

For 8 years my country has been waiting for the Security Council to undertake practical steps on the implementation of the four resolutions concerning the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict 822, 853, 874, 884 which it had adopted back in 1993, and to take enforcement measures against the aggressor in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter.

Until now, mediatory activities of the OSCE Minsk Group, which is co-chaired by the United States, France and Russia, and will be ten years old next year, have not produced any results, so its 10th anniversary may turn out to be a sad one.
Armenia continues to violate principles and norms of international law enshrined in the UN Charter and the OSCE Helsinki Final Act, and ignores provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions and decisions of the OSCE.

 Rejecting this international legal basis for the settlement of the conflict, Armenia negotiates from the position of power and on the basis of fait accompli, trying to consolidate the results of its armed aggression and to annex a part of Azerbaijan territory.

Armenia states that there is a conflict between some principles of international law, but there is no conflict between those principles. The right of self-determination cannot be regarded as a right to forcible separation of a part of territory of a state, and must not justify violation of the principle of territorial integrity of states, in our case - of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Indeed, the real conflict is between Armenia and international law, which prevents Armenia from realizing its claims on the territory of the neighboring states.

The international community should not choose the easiest course of action and should not recognize the right of the powerful. Instead, it must act in accordance with the established principles and norms of international law and decisions of international organizations.

It is unacceptable to blame both sides for the deadlock in the negotiations between them, putting aside the inadequacy between the compromises and concessions demanded of Azerbaijan, on the one hand, and of Armenia, on the other hand. An aggressor and a victim cannot be held equally responsible.

The Republic of Azerbaijan stands ready for the resolution of the conflict based on principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and granting self-governance to all the people of the Nagorny Karabakh region within the Azerbaijani State. The Republic of Azerbaijan is prepared to provide safety and security of this region's population.

Azerbaijan is interested in a just and peaceful resolution of the conflict as nobody else, and it will continue to undertake all the necessary steps to achieve tangible results. But our efforts alone are not enough. Expeditious settlement of the conflict should become one of the main priorities for the international community. No place to stopgap measures and "wait-and-see" position. The situation demands fundamental approaches and actions. We all need that. We do expect a very significant contribution from the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Conference at the highest level.

Having 8 years one million of refugees and internally displaced persons, Azerbaijan continues to face an acute humanitarian problem that can be resolved completely only by creating necessary conditions for their return to their homes as soon as possible. Crises in the neighboring regions have created another problem for Azerbaijan who now has to deal with a significant number of refugees from other countries. Taking all these difficulties into consideration, we deem it necessary for the UNHCR Office in Baku to continue its functioning. Now my country needs even greater assistance from UNHCR, as well as from other UN humanitarian agencies and donor-countries. I would like to take this opportunity to express them all our sincere gratitude and appreciation for their support and assistance.

 Mr. President,

We maintain that in order to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of the UN activities in the area of armed conflict prevention it is necessary to improve control over implementation of the Security Council decisions. To this end, we propose as an item for general consideration a practice of submission by the Security Council to the General Assembly of its periodic reports on the implementation of Council's decisions.

We deem it necessary to strengthen the capability of the UN Rapid Deployment Forces. The faster the international community will react to the first outbreak or the resumption of a conflict, the easier peace and justice will be restored.

Mr. President,

Globalization is to promote sustainable development, integrity and stability of public administration systems, elimination of discrimination in the economic activity, and prosperity of all peoples.

Azerbaijan contributes to moving this process forward. We spare no efforts to restore the Great Silk Route, to create Europe - the Caucasus - Asia transport corridor, to develop deposits of hydrocarbons in the Caspian Sea basin and to transport them to the world markets. These projects are of paramount importance in terms of free and sustainable development of states in several regions of the world. Besides, they will give an impetus to trans-regional cooperation and will serve as a factor that determines the global development.

Free exploitation of national natural resources and their transportation to the world markets is an inalienable right of a sovereign state. Azerbaijan calls upon all the Caspian Sea states to refrain from the use or threat of force in the Caspian Sea basin. The Caspian Sea must be a sea of peace and cooperation. Azerbaijan supports an early agreement on the delimitation of the Caspian Sea on the basis of principles and norms of international law and the established practice in the use of the Caspian.

As a member of the group of the land-locked countries, Azerbaijan needs assistance from the international community to develop its transport infrastructure in order to integrate effectively into the global economy.

In its efforts to implement the concepts of the trans-regional cooperation, Azerbaijan uses a multi-track approach and works within a framework of a number of structures. One of them is the GUUAM, an organization comprising five newly independent states with economy in transition.

Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Uzbekistan and Ukraine, who are the GUUAM member-states and who celebrate the tenth anniversary of their independence this year, have confronted numerous challenges and threats during the difficult period of formation and development of their statehood. Those threats have manifested themselves most vividly during periods of armed conflicts that broke out in three of those five member-states. The GUUAM stands for a  speedy peaceful settlement of conflicts based on norms and principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter, the OSCE Helsinki Final Act and other relevant documents and decisions of the UN and the OSCE.

Currently, the GUUAM member-states, located in Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, are trying to achieve a higher level of their integration into the world economy and, to this end, actively cooperate in creating multi-directional transport corridors and ensuring their safety and security.

Within the framework of humanitarian cooperation, we regard as a very promising a GUUAM initiative aimed at creating a Europe - the Caucasus - Asia "cultural corridor", which would promote cooperation in such areas as culture, science and education. Joint projects in the area of tourism will also have a significant role to play.

Mr. President,

UNDP has actively assisted Azerbaijan in addressing the development issues it faces. At the same time, the Government of Azerbaijan is deeply concerned by the continued decrease in the core resources of the UNDP. Developing countries and economies in transition need a strong UNDP that is able to provide effective assistance in the most complex spheres of development. The Government of Azerbaijan calls upon donor-countries to increase the financial base of the official development assistance (ODA), both multilaterally and unilaterally. In distributing ODA, special attention should be paid to the needs of African countries, the least developed countries, the small island states and the land-locked states.

Azerbaijan places much hope on the UN Conference on Financing for Development and World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in 2002. As a member of the Commission on Sustainable Development, Azerbaijan intends to make a constructive contribution to ensure the success of these important events and to promote sustainable development of weak economies.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I would like to stress that we all bear a tremendous responsibility. Today as never before, we must act wisely and use our power and resources not for escalating hatred and violence, but for the sake of peace and justice, stability and development on our fragile planet.

I thank you, Mr. President.