Political expert: Reports that the Azeri Parliament might adopt a law "On Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan" were just an attempt to see the reaction of the Azeri society, Armenia and the world community
Marat Terterov: Armenia’s long term security will be better served by strengthening economic security, rather than defining national security on the basis of the Tsarist Russian catch-cry “armiya i flot”
Azerbaijan's pride in hosting the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, which has the largest television audience of any non-sporting event in the world, reflects far more than a love of music. It signals my country's re-emergence into the international community and enables us to showcase our achievements since
independence, writes Elmar Mammadyarov, Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, in his article on The WSJ Europe.
"Azerbaijan stands at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, but contact with non-Soviet Europe was almost impossible during the Soviet era. Few in the West were even aware of Azerbaijanis' dreams of national Independence. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Azerbaijan was plunged into a war with Armenia, which lasted six years and claimed 30,000 lives. These years were accompanied by hyperinflation, near-economic collapse and fierce political infighting. As Azerbaijan tottered on the brink of disintegration, few external observers believed that it could survive as a fully independent state. Today, after 20 years of
independence, Azerbaijan has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with average annual GDP growth of 20% between 2003 and 2008," Mammadyarov writes.
The minister believes that Azerbaijan has its problems, not least ongoing corruption. "But this is also a global phenomenon, and it is disappointing that Azerbaijan's important breakthroughs in the fight against corruption have gone unreported."
"Azerbaijan has also come under fire from some Western NGOs for its human-rights record and for the pace of democratic change. Strangely, the critics have ignored what undoubtedly constitutes one of the greatest violations of human rights in modern times: the violent displacement of the Azerbaijani population from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts in the war with Armenia."
"Azerbaijan's democracy remains a work in progress, to be carried on by future generations. Each parliamentary and presidential election has been an improvement over its predecessor. Opposition newspapers can and do now criticize the government on a daily basis. Azerbaijanis take part in lively political discussion on social media. The right of assembly is guaranteed, and in common with a number of other states, including European countries, we require that political demonstrations take place in authorized areas. We continue to believe that the best cradle for democracy is a stable, functioning state," Mammadyarov writes.