"The USA should know that they may lose such a serious partner as Turkey in Caucasus and among Eastern Muslim countries"
Baku. 26 December. REPORT.AZ/ Report News Agency presents an interview of Chairman of Legal Policy and State Building Committee of Milli Majlis (National Parliament of Azerbaijan) Ali Huseynli.
- To what extent is adoption of law draft proposed by the US Congressman Christopher Smith and which considers sanctions against Azerbaijan, and imposing of sanctions by the United States real?
- There is a certain procedure for submission of a law draft in the US Congress. We know that the draft law has been prepared by Christopher Smith. Everyone knows that he is pro-Armenian oriented and is sponsored by the Armenian lobby. Of course, in this point our steps should be adequate. I highly appreciate and totally support than the independent MP, a board member of Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno Karabakh Public Union and Vice Chairman of Parliament's Legal Policy and State Building Committee Rovshan Rzayev has prepared a draft law on "human rights situation in the United States and made such an initiative.
When we learned about such a project through the local media, it delighted us. We believe that our colleague has taken the right step. Congress has the legislative procedure in the United States. Milli Majlis also has it. I think we should observe the steps they take. Because it is obvious, that Azerbaijan put forward this initiative after the US side made this step. Our colleague Rovshan Rzayev has explained his reasons, and it is clear that the law draft is related to Smith's. If the United States has not taken such a step, our initiative would not have been put forward. We have opinions on the United States' policies, we hear criticism, but we have never introduced a law draft. Hence, this step is related to the one of Smith's. Our colleagues have been criticized on social networks and other places. I do not understand it. Because Smith is not just an ordinary US Congressman. Everybody knows that he is taking this step to support the Armenian lobby. Azerbaijani civil society, politicians, in other words, everyone should support the initiative of Rovshan Rzayev. After all, it is the Armenian lobby's attack on us. Of course, the human rights here are just a cover.
For us, there are no concepts of bigger smaller states. There have been some cases in which Azerbaijan expressed its dissatisfaction to the neighboring states. For example, the issue of opening the Turkish border with Armenia was risen Azerbaijan immediately expressed its attitude to it. Visiting Turkey, Azerbaijani MPs, and negotiated to prevent it. In addition, not long ago, an ordinary Azerbaijani citizen Orkhan Zeynalov was accused of committing a crime and his defense rights was violated in Russia. The Azerbaijani government, the country's embassy in Russia raised the voice of the public. You know that Russia is a great country, an ally and a strategic friend of Azerbaijan. When such situations happened in Iran, Azerbaijan have given the same reactions there. Now, why do people think that the United States is inviolable?
! I have been asked why a member of our committee had put such an initiative forward. I was wondering, whar are people afraid of? Here you should be united by the sense of national solidarity. Our political views may be different, but steps taken by the Armenian lobby have to be met by our adequate reaction, I think we have to be more 'fanatic' in this case. The law draft presented by Rovshan Rzayev must be introduced to the relevant committees of the National Assembly.
The project should be discussed by the committee, and some amendments might be done. In other words, this law draft has to pass certain procedures until it is put forward for parliament discussion. Perhaps the decision will be parallel. We hope that the US Congress will not take such a step and will not accept it. However, if they do take this step, we will do the same. We hope that there are more people who want to preserve relations of the United States with Azerbaijan, the first democratic republic in the East and continue cooperation with the region's most powerful country. We believe in it, and are even confident. If the United States adopts a decision on Azerbaijan, we will make the next step. But its influence is another question.
- Are you completely satisfied with reaction of the community on this issue?
- No, I am not. It cannot be supported only by government officials. All the society must be active in this issue. I believe that even opposition must support it. But I don't see it, maybe I am wrong. In particular, I did not see active support. The vast majority of our colleagues in the parliament including opposition representatives supported the project of Rovshan Rzayev. They also voiced criticism. Actually, I don't understand it. It is not a subject that should be discussed. The main argument of the critics, was that it is the United States, the world's largest state and it shall be inviolable. And no other arguments. We are an independent state who got rid of the "big brothers". Now may be they found a "big brother" ?!
- In case mutual sanctions are imposed, which party will lose more?
- If you give this question to ordinary citizens, they will give objective answers. Let's consider this issue through eyes of ordinary citizens. Many ordinary people see the United States as out of reach country, which is across the ocean. There are some small businesses and economic interests of Azerbaijani people there. I do not mean the strategic partnership. In addition, some people are studying in the United States. What else is it there? If it was not the United States, but China, it would worth serious thinking. If it was Turkey we would also seriously consider this. I would say that for an ordinary Azerbaijani citizen relations are important for economic and business and family relationships with neighboring countries. They are Turkey, Russia, Iran, Georgia and Arab countries. These countries are members of the citizens' daily lives. If you remember, some time ago, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution on Azerbaijan. For us it is just a simple piece of paper. A few months have passed after its adoption. What has changed?! Just more sanctions against the officials. For example, imposing a visa ban to officials. I think that now it is the moment, when officials should stay in the country. We have to stay in Azerbaijan even on holidays. If officials in charge are not issued visas, our country will become more and more wealthy. I mean, it would be good for all of us. We need to develop tourism. Officials should rest in one of the beautiful spots of the country. I think people will not suffer from sanctions, there is no concern here, only profit. Similar sanctions were imposed in a number of countries. For example, some time ago, they had imposed sanctions against Iran, so what ?! Iran has further strengthened its health, education and agriculture field. Take Belarus, one of the countries of the former Soviet Union and Azerbaijan's close friend and brother. They have imposed sanctions against that country for many years. "If I am to answer the question which country will lose more, I would say the USA. The USA should know that they may lose such a serious partner as Turkey in Caucasus and among Eastern Muslim countries. I believe that US policymakers should think about it. Because everyone knows that Azerbaijan has special place in the region. They also have admitted it.
- Artificially lowering prices of oil resulted in the world economic crisis. In his speech President Ilham Aliyev said that this is a deliberate policy. In your opinion, how Azerbaijan will stage this?
- Of course, this is a deliberate policy. Our processes had to be parallel with other oil producing country, Russia. So this process of lowering prices had to begin some time ago. It was a deliberate policy pursued by the President of Azerbaijan, that Azerbaijan has passed this process of the national currency devaluation softly. You know that the process has already begun. Approximately 10-15 days ago when it was known that the price of a barrel of oil falls from 37 USD and it is also known that it was made by the United States of America, there was no other way out. Of course, it is difficult for people. It seems to me, we have to be patient. Because no one is to wait for a miracle. Of course, there is a sustainable economy in Azerbaijan, the State Oil Fund's reserves have other reserve funds. Manat was preserved by using them. The President also stressed it in his speech. Economists have to inform people of some realities, meanwhile, we need to be optimistic. This unpleasant process play a role in a new foundation for growth. I am sure that it will be another test in terms of political stability.
- According to press reports, the Joint Working Group of Mercy Commission on Human Rights has submitted a list including 22 people ...
- There is no such a list. It is a list of submitted by the human rights defenders. We do not divide this list, regardless the quantity of people included. Human rights activists offer lists and names from time to time. The list spread in media is wrong. I think that this list should not be abused by press or human rights defenders. There is an approach to these issues in the context of the legislation and we do not have any other exceptions. We cannot establish a procedure for considering the individual rights of a convicted or arrested person, different from the others. It is unacceptable. It should not be presented to the society in this way as if someone's rights are protected on an individual basis and in a more accessible form. This is the wrong approach. After all, any convicted person may ask why someone's rights are protected individually? At the meeting we have just discussed human rights issues. There were certain treatment, which will be discussed in a general way.
- What is your attitude to review of the Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland, a representative of the Joint Working Group on Human Rights?
- It does not bother us. We will continue our work. The presence or absence of a working group representative of the Council of Europe does not matter.