Azerbaijani Envoy Touts Growing Ties With Mexico
By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Over the course of the last 12 months, bilateral ties between Mexico and Azerbaijan have increased dramatically, especially in the areas of political cooperation and interparliamentary dialogue, that nation’s ambassador to Mexico, Mammad Talibov, said Friday, May 19.
“We have witnessed the official visit (to Mexico) of (Azerbaijani Assistant to the First Vice President) Elchin Amirbayov as a special envoy of the president of Azerbaijan, which demonstrated the importance that Azerbaijan attaches to its relations with Mexico,” Talibov said, speaking during a diplomatic reception at the Presidente Intercontinental Hotel to mark his nation’s independence anniversary and the start of a year-long commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of that country’s national leader, Heydar Aliyev.
Amirbayov visited Mexico in November of last year to explore potential binational cooperation in politics, economics and trade and to help raise two-way relations to a new level.
“Similarly, the third round of bilateral political consultations at the vice-ministerial level were held earlier this month in Mexico City, which allowed us to share our perspectives in order to give them a new and greater impetus in the coming years,” Talibov said.
Currently, two-way trade is limited to about $65 million annually, but the Azerbaijani government is working to increase bilateral commercial interchange, which now consists mostly of cars and auto parts, beverages (tequila and beer) and cane sugar from Mexico to Baku and jet fuel exports from Azerbaijan.
The ambassador went on to note that bilateral cooperation has also been consolidated on the parliamentarian level as a result of the first official visit to Azerbaijan of the Mexico-Azerbaijan Friendship Group.
Headed by incumbent National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party Deputy Alberto Villa Villegas, Talibov pointed out that, during their stay in Baku, the group attended a solemn commemoration of the 1992 genocide de Khojaly, paying homage to the victims of that tragedy.
“Their participation in that context made the visit even more significant for the Azerbaijani side,” Talibov said, referring to a massacre of civilians by Armenian troops during that country’s 27-year occupation of part of Azerbaijan.
“Although Azerbaijan and Mexico are geographically apart, our relations are close and fraternal,” Talibov said.
“Simultaneously, they have great potential in the tourism, education, commercial and cultural spheres that we seek to take advantage of in our ongoing task of making our countries mutually known.”
Azerbaijan, which first established diplomatic relations with Mexico more than 30 years ago, will mark the 105th anniversary of its independence on May 28, and is also celebrating the centenarian birthday of its third president, Heydar Aliyev, this year.
Talibov pointed out that Azerbaijan has officially declared 2023 at the Year of Heydar Aliyev.
“Both events are a source of great pride for our country,” he said.
“They allow us to remember where we come from and to appreciate our present, in order to plan our future destiny.”
Talibov said that Azerbaijan’s path for development began “precisely, 105 years ago when on May 28, 1918 the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan with very progressive characteristics for that time.”
He noted that “fundamental democratic principles and values, such as the equality of all its citizens before the law and respect for human rights” were incorporated as priority aspects of Azerbaijan from the start, and the country was the first Muslim-majority nation to guarantee women the right to vote.
“Unfortunately this young country, which was the first democratic, secular republic and parliamentary in the East, existed for barely 23 months as a result of the Bolshevik invasion in the early 1920s,” he said.
In 1991, Azerbaijan regained its independence, but soon faced military aggression from neighboring Armenia, to the brink of civil war and economic collapse.
It was at this time, Talibov said, that, faced with this adverse situation, “the people of Azerbaijan demanded the return to the politics of Heydar Aliyev, a respected and admired Azerbaijani, charismatic leader with a dedicated personality and will of iron.”
“Loved by his people, who called him ‘Grandfather Heydar,’ he knew how to guide us in the most difficult times, of greatest crisis and uncertainty in our country, and for this reason he is considered as the architect and founder of modern Azerbaijan,” Talibov said.
“One of his initial actions was to agree to a ceasefire in the first Karabakh War, which allowed him to focus his efforts on stabilizing the country internally through the approval of a new constitution in 1995, and tp lay the foundation for the emergence of a leading Azerbaijan in the region, now known for its economic miracle, its stability and security, as well as for being a multicultural country.”
Talibov noted that Aliyev likewise achieved the signing of what was dubbed the Contract of the Century in 1994 and which attracted investment for the country to the tune of $50 billion, despite having regained its independence just three years earlier and facing an invasion from Armenia.
“Heydar Aliyev, against all odds and thanks to his diplomatic skills and negotiation, made this possible in Azerbaijan,” the ambassador said.
“Through a multi-vector foreign policy, Heydar Aliyev managed to deepen relations agreements between Azerbaijan and several other countries, such as Mexico, as well as to cooperate more closely and have a greater involvement in international organizations.”