ILHAM HEYDAR OGLU ALIYEV, President of Azerbaijan, said that through its own resources, his country has vaccinated more than 80 per cent of its population against COVID-19 and released a $2.7 billion socioeconomic stimulus package. The pandemic has been kept under control and the quarantine regime gradually eased. As Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, Azerbaijan put forward several global initiatives in response to COVID-19 and it plans to present a resolution in the Assembly on universal vaccine access during this session. He reiterated his country’s dismay with “vaccine nationalism” and the stockpiling of vaccines by some rich countries, which is preventing developing countries from protecting their people.
Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals is important for Azerbaijan, he said, highlighting the progress it is making in poverty reduction, health care, nutrition, Internet usage and women’s participation in the work force, among other things. Having ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change, it is considering additional targets for 2050. Renewable energy accounts for 17 per cent of Azerbaijan’s total energy capacity and it hopes to raise that to 30 per cent by 2030, including through wind and solar power plants. Recently liberated Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur economic zones have been declared a green energy zone with a proven potential of generating a total of 9,200 megawatts of solar and wind energy.
He said that one year after drawing the Assembly’s attention to Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijani territory and the aggressive statements and actions of the Government of Armenia, “I proudly say that Armenia was defeated on the battlefield and Azerbaijan has put an end to the occupation.” The fact that some Security Council resolutions are implemented within days while others go unfulfilled for 27 years is a clear manifestation of double standards. Joint efforts must be made to establish a mechanism to implement Council decisions and thus avoid a selective approach, he said.
The overthrow of the Kocharyan-Sarkisyan regime in Armenia in 2018 raised hopes that the new Government would engage seriously in negotiations, but it opted to continue the policy of occupation, he said. When Armenia attacked Azerbaijani military positions and civilians on 27 September 2020, Azerbaijan exercised its right of self-defence under the United Nations Charter with a counter-attack. During the 44-day war, Azerbaijan restored its territorial integrity and left the 30-year Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the past. There is no administrative territorial unit called Nagorno-Karabakh, as the area has been designated Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur, he said, calling upon Member States and the Secretariat not to use legally non-existent, politically biased and manipulative terminology going forward.
In the aftermath of the war, Azerbaijan is taking legal action against companies which illegally exploited its natural resources in the formerly occupied lands, he said. Armenia must bear responsibility for military aggression and other grave crimes committed against Azerbaijan under international law and the United Nations Charter. Fascist ideology still dominates in Armenia, he said, citing a rise in “Azerbaijaniphobia” and the glorification of Nazism in the person of General Garegin Nzhdeh, who has been made a national hero. Azerbaijan has allocated $1.3 billion this year for reconstruction in Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur, but the vast presence of landmines is the main challenge. Azerbaijan is ready to start peace talks with Armenia to create a region of peace and cooperation, but Armenia has yet to respond positively to this proposal, he said.
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