Emigrant crisis in Europe, armed conflicts throughout the entire Eurasian continent, as well as other events have once again demonstrated the difference of cultures, mentalities and the world outlook between Europe and the West.
The solution of the problems is possible only through understanding of each other and Azerbaijan has taken over a difficult mediating role in this process. These are the processes, activities held in Azerbaijan throughout many years, and they include the IV Global Baku Forum organized by the country’s Nizami Ganjavi International Center and which completed its work yesterday, on March 11.
That is what President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said at the opening of the forum.
“Azerbaijan is the member of the Council of Europe, member of the Islamic Cooperation Organization,” said the president. “It is a bridge between cultures, traditions, religions, and this is our responsibility. We play this role in order to provide successful development of our country, and also to create most stable, predictable situation in the region.”
On the one hand, it may seem that for a small country with only 25 years of history of modern independence, it is difficult to act as an intermediary in the process of reconciliation and understanding of cultures. However, the place of Azerbaijan, its centuries-old experience of tolerance, equal and equivalent relations with almost all its neighbors show, that today, Baku is a place where representatives of different cultures and religions of Europe and Asia, Russia and the West, Iran and the US can find common language.
If one draws an invisible line on a map, dividing the world into two parts, and passes through a smaller number of countries, it will pass through three states – Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. If one takes into account that Russia and Iran are perceived ambiguously by other countries, the only kind of a “strait” between East and West is only one country – Azerbaijan.
Thanks to its location, Baku already links Europe and Asia. From Azerbaijan and through Azerbaijan, Asia will play an important role in energy security of Europe. Transport projects will connect the two parts of the world through Azerbaijan.
The title of the Global Baku Forum – “Towards a Multipolar World” – suggests that it is necessary to change the world view. The forum’s panels focused on the processes in Syria, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, security issues, migration, energy and interreligious dialogue.
How does Azerbaijan itself benefit from this forum? Each such event brings the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict closer, since the West no longer regards the country just as a Muslim state. Those visiting Baku see the developed secular state where the representatives of all religions and confessions live without restraint.
Nevertheless, Baku is not only a meeting point of cultures and civilizations. Azerbaijan has something to say and offer on all problems in the modern world.
Today, Europe is undergoing a migration crisis. As a result of Armenian aggression in early 1990s, Azerbaijan accepted the largest number of refugees per capita. The number of refugees exceeded one million, while the total population was 8 million. However, the country got out of this crisis which could turn into a humanitarian catastrophe.
Azerbaijan also has something to say about the armed conflicts and the ways of their settlement. Azerbaijani lands have been under Armenian occupation for over 20 years already. However, despite the possibility of resolving this issue by military means, Baku holds negotiations trying to settle this conflict through peaceful means.
Today, the world is undergoing a serious economic crisis. The decline in oil prices caused serious damage to all countries, especially, those producing and exporting energy sources. Azerbaijan was no exception. However, as a result of the policy of reforms, diversification of economy, reorientation to export, the country managed to neutralize the severe effect of the crisis.
Azerbaijan showed all this during the 4th Global Baku Forum as well. The 7th UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Global Forum in Baku to be held in April will be the next step.