No:526/21, Press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the results of 2021
In order to contribute to the national security and socio-economic development of the country, the foreign policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2021 was implemented in accordance with the directions set by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. The country's independent, open, pragmatic and national foreign policy course based on national interests has been successfully continued during the year.
As the head of state stressed, the establishment of relations with all countries on the basis of equality, mutual respect and trust has been one of the main principles of our foreign policy. The activity of Azerbaijani diplomacy on the basis of this principle has laid the foundation for the stable development of its relations with both neighboring and non-neighboring countries. In this context, at a time of growing tension in the system of international relations, the approach of the Azerbaijani state to the promotion of unifying, rather than divisive, lines in the world, was of particular importance.
During 2021, our foreign policy activities were aimed at supporting the work to strengthen the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state, promoting victory in the Patriotic War in the international diplomatic plane, accomplishing the tasks of demining, restoring and reconstructing the territories liberated from occupation. In this regard, a number of organizations to which our state is a member, as well as partner countries made statements welcoming the results of the Patriotic War and began to support the process of demining, restoration and reconstruction of our liberated lands.
At the same time, consistent and purposeful efforts have been made to realize the opportunities created by the new situation in the region after the Patriotic War for sustainable peace and development, as well as to ensure the opening of transport communications.
During the year, the Republic of Azerbaijan worked with other members of the world community to seek and provide effective responses to common threats and challenges facing humanity, including the COVID-19 pandemic. It should be especially noted that our state from the first days has been one of the leading countries in the fight against pandemics since its inception.
Successfully continuing its chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement, the Republic of Azerbaijan has played an active role in directing the potential of member states to realize the goals of the Movement.
This policy of the Azerbaijani side, described above, has further strengthened the sympathy for our country in the world and its stabilizing role in the region. Taking into account the pandemic conditions, 2021 was marked by the intensification of contacts between Azerbaijan and the states of the world, numerous visits to our country by representatives of foreign states and international organizations, academia and the media, growing support within international organizations and the successful promotion of the regional policy agenda.
Resolving the difficulties faced by our citizens living abroad has been one of the natural priorities of our diplomacy.
During the year, the focus was on providing information on the foreign policy and raising awareness about our diplomacy.
Diplomatic activity in the post-conflict phase
After the end of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict on November 10, 2020, the Azerbaijani side during 2021 carried out intensive activities to establish interstate relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the basis of mutual recognition and respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of international borders, the beginning of the process of delimitation and demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, regional cooperation, sustainable development and progress.
Through bilateral, regional and multilateral formats, including meetings within the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the European Union, NATO, GUAM, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Organization of Turkic States and the Economic Cooperation Organization, as well as through voiced statements and adopted documents awareness-raising on the realities of the post-war period has been intensified, and steps have been taken to restore peace in the region, post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction activities, and to create the necessary conditions for the return of IDPs.
Possibilities of bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms have been mobilized to provide the Azerbaijani side with complete and accurate maps of the mass contamination of the liberated territories of Azerbaijan with landmines and other explosives, to draw international attention to the issue of demining of our territories and to provide appropriate support to the country.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan participated in international events and meetings during the current year, including a special session of the OSCE Permanent Council on May 25, 2021, the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on September 20-27, 2021, 14 Meeting of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers on October 2021, 41st session of the General Conference of UNESCO on November 9-10, 2021, Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Eastern Partnership countries on November 14-18, 2021, the 28th meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council on December 2-3, as well as at the extraordinary meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and numerous bilateral meetings held in the margins of these events, and provided detailed information on the realities existing in the region at the post-conflict stage and the challenges our country has faced.
The work was continued on the disclosure of the crimes committed by Armenia in the occupied territories, such as targeted mass destruction of civil infrastructure (urbicide), looting, destruction, falsification, illegal transportation of cultural heritage (culturocide), damage to the environment and biodiversity (ecoсide), massive pollution of territories with landmines and other explosives, unwillingness to clarify the fate of those missing as a result of Armenia's military aggression against our country, unwillingness to investigate war crimes against hostages or captives, and the establishment of the international legal responsibility of Armenia for these violations.
Thus, in January 2021, the Republic of Azerbaijan filed an interstate complaint against Armenia to the European Court of Human Rights. The complaint contains facts proving that Armenia has consistently violated the rights of Azerbaijani citizens under the 1950 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In September, the Republic of Azerbaijan appealed to the UN International Court of Justice in the Hague on the facts of Armenia's long-term policy of ethnic cleansing against the Azerbaijani people under the 1965 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
On December 7, 2021, the International Court of Justice granted Azerbaijan's petition regarding temporary measures to prohibit the propaganda of racial hatred by individuals and organizations of Armenia, including those operating on the territory of Armenia and aimed against Azerbaijanis. The court basically instructed the Armenian side to take urgent measures to prevent the violation of human rights of Azerbaijanis. The decision was made after a court hearing on October 14-19, 2021.
Relations with neighboring countries and trilateral cooperation formats
For the Republic of Azerbaijan, maintaining friendly relations with each of its neighbors and developing them on the basis of mutual interests has remained a priority of the foreign policy. During the year, high-level contacts with Turkey, Russia, Iran, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan continued, and the content of relations was in many cases further enriched by concrete cooperation projects.
The visits of the President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to our country (June 15-16 and October 26, 2021), the visit to our liberated territories, the signing of the Shusha Declaration on Allied Relations between the two countries were significant events. In addition, meetings were held during the year at the level of prime ministers, parliamentary speakers, foreign ministers, defense ministers and other government officials of both countries, and cooperation was carried out in areas of mutual interest.
In 2021, the content of our cooperation with the Russian Federation was quite rich. The President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia held trilateral meetings in Moscow on January 11, 2021 and in Sochi on November 26, 2021, with the mediation of the President of Russia. During the year, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation visited our country. Meetings of the Azerbaijan-Russia Joint Demarcation Commission and the 19th meeting of the Intergovernmental State Commission on Economic Cooperation took place.
Efforts have been made to maintain friendly and good-neighborly relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran at a high level. The meeting between the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Iran, which took place on November 27-28, 2021 in Ashgabat within the framework of the 15th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization, gave impetus to the development of bilateral relations. During the meeting, the Presidents of the two countries signed an "Agreement defining the terms of transit of natural gas through the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran." During the year, meetings were held between the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Iran. On December 22, 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hossein Amirabdollahian paid his first official visit to Azerbaijan.
The agenda of friendship and cooperation with Georgia is quite broad and it has been developed on a stable basis/ Visits of officials of both countries, including the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili to our country, and the Ministers of Defense and Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Georgia took place during the year. The 8th meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission was held in Baku on September 29, 2021 with the participation of the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Our relations with Kazakhstan continued in the spirit of mutual respect and friendship, and on June 21, 2021, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Tleuberdi visited our country. At the same time, the Minister of Trade and Integration of Kazakhstan Bakhyt Sultanov attended the 17th meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission held in Baku on September 9, 2021.
In 2021, our relations with Turkmenistan continued in the spirit of mutual respect and friendship. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov visited Turkmenistan and during the visit signed a “Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of Turkmenistan on the joint exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources of the "Dostlug" field in the Caspian Sea” on January 21, 2021. The meeting between the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in Ashgabat within the framework of the 15th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization gave impetus to the development of bilateral relations.
In 2021, cooperation continued within the framework of trilateral cooperation formats. Thus, the second trilateral meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan was held on January 13, 2021 in Islamabad, and the 5th trilateral meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Turkmenistan was held on February 23, 2021 in Ankara.
Bilateral relations with other countries
In 2021, relations with our strategic partners Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, as well as Moldova, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, with which we share high-level cooperation, expanded, visits to our country on a high-level bilateral basis and meetings within international organizations contributed to this cooperation.
Relations with the United States, China and European countries have been in the spotlight.
In this regard, it should be noted that during 2021, high-level exchanges of letters between the United States and Azerbaijan and contacts between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov took place. In addition, a delegation led by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma National Guard Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Thompson and other US State Department officials visited our country.
Contacts between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the People's Republic of China on cooperation in political, economic and transport-logistics spheres were continued. In 2021, a telephone conversation and relevant exchange of views between the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping gave impetus to the development of bilateral relations. During the year, the 8th meeting of the Azerbaijan-China Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation was held, and agreements on establishing cooperation between the cities of Azerbaijan and China were signed.
In 2021, the foreign ministers of Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Romania, Lithuania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Sweden, as the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, visited Azerbaijan. Within the framework of international events, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan met with the Foreign Ministers of Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, the Netherlands and France. Political consultations were held between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Portugal, Germany, Great Britain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Croatia.
Contacts with the Middle East and Africa through the Ministries of Foreign Affairs continued. Within the framework of international events, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan met with the Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Lebanese Republic and the Palestinian State, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar visited our country. During 2021, political consultations were held between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On June 23-24, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan paid an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During the year, meetings of joint commissions on economic cooperation with the State of Israel, Iraq, the State of Qatar and the UAE were also held. As for the countries of the African region, within the framework of international events, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan met with the Foreign Ministers of the Federal Republic of Somalia, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Chad, the Kingdom of Lesotho, Cameroon, Burundi, Uganda and Capo Verde.
In our relations with the countries of the Asian region, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam, a generally positive trend has prevailed.
It should be especially noted that our strategic partnership with Pakistan has successfully developed in 2021. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met with President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Arif Alvi in Ashgabat on November 28, 2021, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov paid an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on January 13-14, 2021, and on December 1-2, 2021, the 7th meeting of the Azerbaijan-Pakistan Joint Intergovernmental Commission was held in Baku.
Contacts between Azerbaijan and the countries of South America and the Caribbean, in particular St. Kitts and Nevis, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Grenada, Venezuela, Chile, Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia, continued, as well as meetings at the level of foreign ministers (in some cases high-ranking officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs) within the framework of international events, and the exchanges of congratulatory letters on the anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations (Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia) were held.
In general, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan held more than 80 meetings with his counterparts in Azerbaijan and abroad, and the Foreign Ministers of 16 countries visited our country.
During the year, along with neighboring countries, Ukraine, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Serbia, Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, the Republic of Croatia, Hungary, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mongolia, Mongolia, the State of Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of Spain - a total of 27 international agreements have been signed.
In 2021, the Embassies of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Holy See were established.
During the year, inter-parliamentary cooperation with the countries of the world continued. In this regard, it should be noted that the Chairman of the House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the Chairman of the National Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea visited our country, and Chairman of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on a bilateral basis has visited Italy, Slovakia, Hungary and Iran, as well as Austria, Spain, Greece, Russia, Kazakhstan and Pakistan to attend meetings of international inter-parliamentary organizations.
Economic and humanitarian cooperation
Work has been carried out to develop bilateral economic cooperation of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the countries of the world, to attract foreign direct investment in the country's economy, to study the possibilities of participation of foreign companies in the restoration processes in the liberated territories and to stimulate the creation of new areas of cooperation in the non-oil sector.
In accordance with the relevant instructions of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our embassies accredited abroad have been operating in order to attract foreign direct investment to the Alat Free Economic Zone (AFEZ) being established in the country.
The importance of East-West, North-South and South-West international transport corridors and routes, including the Zangazur corridor, regional transport, and infrastructure projects to strengthen the transit-transport potential of our country has been promoted from various platforms.
As a result of the full commissioning of the Southern Gas Corridor, Azerbaijan, by supplying gas to Italy, Greece and Bulgaria during 2021, continued to contribute to the energy security of these countries and the European Union as a whole.
During the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2021, held on July 6-15, 2021, the Republic of Azerbaijan presented its next Voluntary National Review (VNR). Thus, among the countries of the region, the Republic of Azerbaijan was the first country to submit the third VNR on the implementation of the UN "Agenda for Sustainable Development until 2030" and one of the 12 countries in the world.
Promoting dialogue between cultures and religions has traditionally been an important part of Azerbaijan's foreign policy. The biennial World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, organized in partnership with UNESCO, ISESCO, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, the Council of Europe and the World Tourism Organization within the framework of “Baku Process”, initiated by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2008 to promote dialogue and cooperation between peoples and cultures, being an important global platform for promoting intercultural dialogue, was reflected this year in the UN General Assembly's resolution entitled "Promoting a culture of peace, interreligious and intercultural dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation for peace" (A / RES / 76/69).
During the year, the Republic of Azerbaijan also continued to provide humanitarian assistance and development support at the international level. In this regard, it should be noted that only with the coordination of the Azerbaijan International Development Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan - AIDA (operates within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan) in 2021 humanitarian assistance was provided to Indonesia, Croatia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as vaccines against COVID-19 were sent to Burkina Faso through the Organization of Turkic States. In general, our country has so far provided assistance to about 80 countries and three international organizations. In addition, humanitarian actions were held in Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire and Niger in 2021 within the framework of the Islamic Development Bank's (to which AIDA has joined) "Combating Preventable Visual Impairment" (AFAB) project in African countries.
At the same time, thanks to grant programs established for citizens of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in 2021, 40 students from 37 countries had the opportunity to study at Azerbaijani universities. Training was organized for 15 foreign diplomats within the framework of the “Foreign Policy Program for Foreign Diplomats” organized by AIDA together with ADA University.
Presidency in International Organizations: Non-Aligned Movement
In 2021, the chairmanship of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Non-Aligned Movement was successfully continued. Within the framework of international organizations and institutions, especially in 6 UN headquarters (New York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi, Paris, The Hague), the Movement's activities were coordinated, relevant statements were made on behalf of the Movement and resolutions were adopted.
Since the early days of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Azerbaijan has been one of the countries to take initiatives calling on the countries of the world for solidarity and mutual cooperation against this threat. In this regard, on March 23, 2021, within the framework of the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council at the initiative of Azerbaijan, as the chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, a resolution entitled "Ensuring equal, affordable, timely and universal access to vaccines against COVID-19" was adopted. A total of 137 states co-authored the resolution, which is a very high figure for the resolutions adopted by the UN Human Rights Council.
On December 16, 2021, within the framework of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, a resolution entitled "Ensuring equal, affordable, timely and universal access to vaccines against COVID-19" put forward at the initiative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev as the Chairman of the Movement at the plenary session of the Assembly on behalf of the members of the Movement was adopted with the support of an absolute majority of UN member states.
On October 4-5, 2021, at the initiative of the Azerbaijani chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement, a virtual inaugural meeting of the Youth Network of the Non-Aligned Movement with the participation of more than 100 young people representing the member states of the Movement.
On October 11-12, 2021, a high-level anniversary event was held in Belgrade on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Non-Aligned Movement. In his opening remarks, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev emphasized the important role that the Movement has played in the system of international relations since its inception, drew attention to the importance of the Bandung principles, which form the basis of the Non-Aligned Movement, in particular, emphasized the relevance and importance of such principles in modern international relations, as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, refraining from acts of aggression, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.
Also, taking into account the constructive role of parliamentarians in the implementation of the principles, ideas and goals of the Non-Aligned Movement, in order to deepen relations between the parliaments of member states, the inaugural meeting of the Parliamentary Network of the Non-Aligned Movement was held on November 26, 2021 at the initiative of the chairmanship of Azerbaijan. The establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement's Parliamentary Network is important from the point of view that our chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement is not only a historical contribution to the Movement, but also an initiative to contribute to the development of inter-parliamentary cooperation between our country and other countries.
Organization of Turkiс States
Our country's chairmanship in the Organization of Turkic States, which began on October 15, 2019, has continued successfully. During this period, the organization's activities have further strengthened and its reputation has grown. In 2021, during the presidency of Azerbaijan, an informal summit of the Organization of Turkic States (March 31, 2021), a meeting of ministers and officials responsible for media in Baku (April 10, 2021), an emergency meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers on “The situation in Afghanistan and its impact on the member states of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking states in the light of recent developments” in Istanbul (September 27, 2021) and other important events related to sectoral cooperation were held in the format of videoconference.
On November 12, 2021, the eighth Summit of the Organization of Turkic States was held in Istanbul. The Summit adopted, among other things, a decision on changing the name of the Organization and obtaining by Turkmenistan the status of an observer in the Organization, as well as the document entitled “Vision of the Turkic World - 2040” and the Declaration of the Eighth Summit, the chairmanship of which was transferred from Azerbaijan to Turkey. In the declaration of the eighth summit, the member states congratulated the Republic of Azerbaijan on the victory in the 44-day Patriotic War, expressed support for the just cause of liberating our lands from military occupation, welcomed the end of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, supported the normalization of relations based on mutual recognition and respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of each other's borders and expressed their readiness to support Azerbaijan's efforts aimed at restoration, reconstruction and reintegration in the post-conflict period. At the summit, the head of state was awarded the Supreme Order of the Turkic World on the occasion of a historic victory that ensured the liberation of the lands of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the restoration of territorial integrity, which made an important contribution to Turkiс unity and opened the way to achieving lasting peace and stability in the region.
OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation
On December 15, 2021, the last meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation under the Austrian chairmanship was held. At the end of the meeting, the Austrian side transferred the chairmanship to Azerbaijan.
Austria chaired Forum for Security Cooperation from September to December 2021. The chairmanship of the Forum for Security Cooperation is held in alphabetical order by the three OSCE participating States throughout the year. Thus, the Azerbaijani side will officially assume the chairmanship of the Forum for Security Cooperation in January-April 2022. During the chairmanship of Azerbaijan in the Forum for Security Cooperation, Austria and Belarus will act as members of the Troika of the Forum for Security Cooperation.
The Forum for Security Cooperation, which covers the military-political dimension of the OSCE and is the main structure of the organization in this area, works to strengthen military security and stability in the OSCE area. The forum contributes to the implementation of the military-political commitments of the OSCE member states and the relevant documents in this area. It serves to build confidence among participating States through various security and confidence-building measures in the politico-military field, and thus contributes to overall security and stability.
Cooperation with the UN and other international organizations
As in previous years, the Republic of Azerbaijan has contributed to the implementation of the goals of the UN Charter in 2021 in the direction of establishing international peace, security and development.
Our country has actively participated in international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking, cybercrime and money laundering, as well as other new threats and challenges.
During the high-level week of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (September 21-27, 2021), a video statement by President Ilham Aliyev has been voiced on behalf of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the topic “Building Resilience through Hope - recovering from COVID-19, sustainable reconstruction, Meeting the Needs of the Planet, respecting human rights and the revitalization of the United Nations”.
The visit of the Chairman of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir to our country took place on April 8-9.
Within the framework of the 9th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption, held on 13-17 December 2021 in Sharm El Sheikh, Arab Republic of Egypt, a side-event was held on the topic “Misuse of fundraising activities for corruption and related criminal offenses”, special attention of the international community was paid to the collection of donations by Armenian diaspora organizations and charitable foundations operating abroad during the Patriotic War, sending them to the territories of Azerbaijan and using them on illegal basis for the financing of terrorism.
During 2021, activities were continued to promote the candidates nominated by the Republic of Azerbaijan for elected positions in international organizations. As a result of the successful election campaign, in the elections held in Paris on November 17, 2021, our country gained 143 votes and became a member of the UNESCO Executive Board for 2021-2025, and in the elections held on November 30, 2021, Azerbaijan was elected a member of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict for 2021-2025. In addition, Azad Tagizade, Adviser to the Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Azerbaijan, was once again elected a member of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW) for 2022-2025.
The 30th anniversary of our membership in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which occupies an important place in the foreign policy of our country, coincided with 2021. This organization was chosen for its fair position, based on the norms and principles of international law, towards Azerbaijan during the years of Armenian aggression and which supported the just cause of our state. During the year, the permanent representatives of the Contact Group of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the aggression of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Director General of ICESCO visited our country, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan met with the ambassadors of the member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation accredited in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On November 28, 2021, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the 15th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization held in Ashgabat. In the final document adopted during the meeting (Ashgabat Consensus for Action), the member states congratulated the Government and people of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the liberation of our lands and restoration of our territorial integrity, expressed confidence that this paves the way for sustainable peace and economic prosperity through the establishment of good-neighborly relations in the South Caucasus region, and called for exploring opportunities to invest in reconstruction and rehabilitation projects in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan.
During the year, our country continued to cooperate with the EU and NATO, as well as within the framework of organizations, of which we are members, such as the Economic Cooperation Organization, GUAM, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
The existing dialogue between the EU and Azerbaijan in 2021 is characterized by intensity. The President of the EU Council Charles Michel and the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi visited our country. During these contacts, including at the VI EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels on December 15, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev conveyed to the opposite side our country's position and expectations in the development of relations with the EU. In the Joint Declaration adopted at the end of the Eastern Partnership Summit, which was held on a physical basis for the first time in 4 years, the EU reiterated its support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all partner countries within their internationally recognized borders.
A high-level political dialogue with NATO continued throughout the year. Thus, on December 15, 2021, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev visited NATO Headquarters at the invitation of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg within the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels. During the visit, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan met with the NATO Secretary General and held a joint press conference. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan also took part in a joint meeting of the North Atlantic Council with the Republic of Azerbaijan in the "30 + 1" format. During the year, contacts with NATO officials continued at other levels. NATO and Allied officials praised the exceptional merit of our military contingent, involved in the protection of forces and various staff tasks at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul under Turkish command, in the last days of the “Resolute Support” operation to ensure security at Kabul International Airport and creating conditions for a safe evacuation process.
Another event in the field of multilateral cooperation was the opening of the Pacific Alliance's Baku office on 13 December.
During the reporting year, Foreign Ministry officials visited the OSCE, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, the UN Office in Geneva, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
On the work done in 2021 to address the difficulties faced by the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan abroad
In 2021, in accordance with our legislation and international agreements to which our country is a party, necessary measures were taken to protect the rights and freedoms of our citizens abroad. Some of the multifaceted activities in this area were as follows:
81 citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan (69 children and 12 women) detained in refugee camps and prisons of the Republic of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic were repatriated.
Also, in connection with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, based on the relevant instructions and decisions of the country's leadership, Operational Headquarters, established under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan to organize the process of evacuation of citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan from foreign countries in 2021, to identify the difficulties faced by our citizens in entering and leaving our country and to consider appeals in this area, successfully continued its activities in close cooperation with the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
During the year, more than 80,000 appeals were received for the above-mentioned purposes at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in accordance with the legislation governing this area, the appeals of these persons were considered, and numerous calls to the specially established hotlines were answered on a daily basis, possible consular and legal assistance was provided, necessary information on entry to and exit from the country was provided and relevant documents were sent to the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan for further consideration. Also, the evacuation of our citizens from the Republic of Dagestan of the Russian Federation through the land border checkpoint (Yaraq Gazmalar-Samur) to our country, in accordance with the procedure established by the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan, was carried out during 2021 on a regular basis since April 2020. (4217 people crossed the border during 2021).
Conferences organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreign policy information support and analytical work
During the year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued its analytical work, and relevant information was provided to our relevant government agencies.
Conference dedicated to the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ADA University, conference and exhibition "44-day road to Victory", the conference and exhibition at ADA University on the occasion of the 30 August – International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Commission on prisoners of war, hostages, and missed persons in connection with the persons missing as a result of the military aggression of Armenia against our country, and other similar events were held. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a visit to Shusha of diplomats of the diplomatic corps responsible for work with the press and representatives of foreign media agencies accredited in Azerbaijan.
During the year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published special issues of the "World of Diplomacy" magazine and a collection of documents entitled "Ahmadiyya Jabrayilov-100", a photo exhibition reflecting the life and work of A.Jabrayilov was organized at ADA University.
After the Patriotic War, numerous visits (press tours) of journalists to the liberated territories in 2021 were organized. At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to convey the truth about Azerbaijan to the world community. During the year, more than 500 news items were posted on the Foreign Ministry's website.