BY THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
The chargé d’affaires of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Mexico, Mammad Talibov, and his wife Kamala Talibova, marked the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) – the first secular parliamentary democracy in the Muslim world – with a lavish, sit-down dinner at the Club Naval Norte on Monday, May 28.
In 1918, the first democratic republic in the Eastern world was established in Azerbaijan, Talibov told his guests at the start of the event.
Talibov went on to say that shortly after the republic’s founding, Azerbaijan’s government agencies and public institutions were established and national symbols were adopted.
At that time, women were given the right to vote and be elected as public servants.
Azerbaijan was one of the first five countries in the world to implement universal suffrage.
Two years later, however, the Caucasian country’s hard-fought freedom was crushed and Azerbaijan became part of the USSR under the name of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan.
During the Soviet period, the Republic of Azerbaijan played a key role in the allied efforts during the Second World War, committing a million troops to the front and providing 70 percent of the allied oil consumption.
Azerbaijan was also essential to the USSR because of its pivotal role in the petrochemical and agricultural production.
Azerbaijan was the first country to install an offshore drilling platform and the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy, inaugurated in 1920, trained some of the earliest technical pioneers in the international oil industry.
During the instability that followed the fall of the Soviet Union and the restoration of Azerbaijan’s independence, Armenia invaded part of the country and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988.
That conflict ended in1994 with Armenian occupation of about 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory, leaving roughly 800,000 Azerbaijanis displaced.
But despite ongoing tensions with Yerevan, Azerbaijan has progressed dramatically to become a regional economic and political leader with a booming market economy and healthy diplomatic relations throughout most of the world.
“Today, Azerbaijan is taking a leading role with successful economic and energy projects on a global scale, such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyran oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline,” Talibov said.
“And we are now working with our western partners on an ambitious energy project called the Southern Gas Corridor that will allow Azerbaijani natural gas to reach the European market, making Azerbaijan a major contributor to European energy stability.”
Talibov also noted that the World Economic Forum has placed Azerbaijan among the top five most-inclusive emerging economies and in 35th place among the most competitive nations on Earth.
The envoy pointed out that Mexico and Azerbaijan have maintained bilateral diplomatic relations for 26 years now, and that the relationship has always been based on friendship and cooperation.
Currently, combined two-way trade amounts to roughly $10 million annually.