Isfendiyar Vahabzadeh: Armenians’ concert in Kishinev cancelled by president’s interference

[ 17 Jan. 2007 ]

Azerbaijani Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Moldova Isfendiyar Vahabzadeh interviewed by the APA

– A year and a half has passed since diplomatic mission opened in Moldova. What has been done during this period?
– Our embassy’s activity is based on spreading Azerbaijan’s truths, recognition of our country, people and culture in this part of Europe. As a result of this work, we have achieved the neutralization of the activity of Armenian Diaspora against our country. Moldova actively cooperates with Azerbaijan and supports our common positions in the international organizations. The two countries cooperate within UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, GUAM and CIS.
– What is level of political and economic relations between Azerbaijan and Moldova?
– Moldova is a strategic ally of Azerbaijan. Both countries cooperate within GUAM. Common position represented by the two countries when GUAM frozen conflicts were included on the agenda of the UN General Assembly is an obvious example of it. Speaker of the Parliament Ogtay Asadov participated in the meeting GUAM Parliamentary Assembly in Kishinev last year. Azerbaijani side participates in all assemblies of international organizations held in Moldova. The opening of the Azerbaijani embassy in Moldova contributed to the development of these relations. 15 000 Azerbaijanis live in Moldova. SOCAR and Azerbaijan International bank open new offices and enterprises in GUAM member state Georgia. This can be done in Moldova. Azerigaz, AZAL, SOCAR and other big Azerbaijani companies can implement projects in economic and cultural spheres. Moldova is the only GUAM member state the capital of which has no direct air contact with Baku. This damages the development of bilateral relations. Whereas, there is a corresponding agreement concerning it and it was ratified by the parliaments of both countries. Though trade turnover between the two countries is low, I think that there are great potentials for this. Intergovernmental economic commission is functioning successfully. The meeting of the intergovernmental commission was held in Baku last year, the next meeting is planned to be held in Kishinev.
– Does Azerbaijan make investments in Moldavian economy?
– Azpetrol Company is the biggest foreign company that has made investments in Moldovian economy. There is 700m outlet to the river Danube in the region Jurjulesht. Oil, load and passenger terminal is planned to be opened here. According to the data of 2006, $27 000 were spent on the construction of Jurjulesht terminal. Construction of oil refinery is planned to be constructed around the terminal. After the known events, the company changed its name to Bemol and denies that it works by Azeri capital. Besides, possessing 100% Azeri capital, Khazar Konstruktul continues the construction of multi-storeyed buildings Chokana settlement in the capital of Moldova. Azkom company has constructed a mini oil refinery in the oil base belonged to USSR Military Armed Forces in Pirlitsa settlement of Ungen region and 1 million tonnes oil is refined per year here. But there is another interesting point in the activity of the enterprise. Lubricants produced in Moldova are repeatedly refined here and it is very important form ecological point of view.
– Moldova also faced the problem of territorial integrity…
– Armenian charitable concerts used to be organized in Moldova before the embassy opened. A charity concert “Voice of Arstsakh” had to be held on the initiative of Armenian community in Kishinev Nations Palace on October 13, 2005. It was considered to spend income for the Armenian refugees in result of the conflict with Azerbaijan. I was not able to present the credentials to the president then. But we agitated with the local leadership on this event and met with chairman of the parliament and the ministers. When the credential was presented to Vladimir Voronin, president of the Republic of Moldova, we raied the issue once more and the concert was canceled by the president’s interference. We substantiated our position in the way that if Azerbaijan organizes the concert of Transdniestrian separatists in Baku, how would Moldova take it? The Persons showing carelessness that time understood their faults. Armenians wrote insulting words to us after this incident. But the Ministry of Interior Affairs prevented such negative cases immediately. But none of these facts but one had an impact on me. It had been a few days since we arrived in Moldova. We had no residence, office, computer or note-paper. We wrote about our first success to the Azerbaijani Ministry of foreign Affairs. But they blamed us for not to wrote it in an official note-paper. As far as I know, diplomacy needs not form but content.
– How strong is the Armenian community in Moldova?
– There are two Armenian Diasporas in Moldova. Armenians also use the third country for their aims. French ambassador to Moldova Edmon Pambukchiya may be added to this list. There works 8-9 persons of Armenian origin in this embassy. The pictures reflecting sights of Karabakh have been placed on the walls of the embassy. Even Armenian flag has been put beside the French one on the table. There are two Armenian churches in Kishinev. Actually, there are a lot of Azerbaijani communities in Moldova as well. But they are in trade business and other sectors that have no much impact on the society. Anyway, Moldova is an independent country and Kishinev’s support of Kars-Akhalkalaki railway project proves this fact.
– What achievements did the embassy gain in 2006?
– We began with serious programmes. For the first time, we held a press conference on January 20 on occasion of the events in 1990 and spread new information. It is hard to imagine that they know about the events in Tbilisi, Riga, Vilnius even Alma-Ata but nothing about the large-scaled tragedy as 20 yanvar. We got lots of books and booklets from Baku on occasion of Khojali tragedy in February and delivered them to all state bodies and organizations. In March we organized the presentation ceremony of the book “Heydar Aliyev” published in Moscow. Accredited ambassadors of Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and officials of Moldova participated in the ceremony. Film “History of envy” by producer Vagif Mustafayev was displayed after the presentation. I compared Nagorno Karabakh conflict with Transdniestrian one and pointed out common points of the countries in my speech. Film “Leader” devoted to the nationwide leader was displayed on May 12. “Artsakh – an ancient Armenian land” and other saboteur posters were placed in Armenian stand during the traditional Ethno-festival in Kishinev in September. We managed to prevent it as well. The stand of the Azerbaijan was very successful. According to the agreement with NIT TV broadcast we started to show Azerbaijani films. It has been lasting for five months now.
– How did the project occur?
– Armenian Diasporas showed twice a week “Ararat”, “Erebuni”, “Papik aga”, “Urartu” and other untrue films in this television. We couldn’t stand it when songs composed by Uzeyir Hajibeyov and Armenian variant of the film “If not that one, this one” were added to the show. We found out the influence of television and media then. First we managed to make Armenian films show stop. According to the project a documentary and a feature film is displayed once a week. “Refugees”, “Karabakh”, “Batabat” documentary films and “Flames of Baku”, “Shirvanshahes”, “Accords of a long life”, “Nizami”, “Arshin mal alan”, “If not that one, this one”, “In far coasts” and other feature films have been displayed so far. We achieved the display of the films at the week-ends, because the spectators would be more. They wanted to reduce the remark “Armenians are our enemies” in “Shirvanshahs” film, but we prevented it. “Feryad” (Scream) film caused great blast, and we still feel its results. But we also have some problems; it is difficult for us to get Azerbaijani films sounded in Russian language from Baku. Armenians displayed film called Nakhchivan based on false facts, and now we want films in Russian language that will reflect the real history of Nakchivan and Karabakh. But we still did not get an answer from Baku.
– There are Gagauz, Turks and Tatars in Moldova. Can you cooperate with them?
– Over 150000 Christian Turks from Gagauz Yeri live in Moldova. Approximately 10 00 of them live in Kishinev. Ss the result of the last elections politician who loves Azerbaijan Mikhail Formuzal got the leadership of Gagauz Yeri. I took part in the inauguration of his on December 29. The new leader is interested in the cooperation with Azerbaijani companies. From this point of view, there are many opportunities for Azerbaijani companies engaged in processing of agriculture products. We were inspired of President Ilham Aliyev’s statement and expand our cooperation with Turks, Gagauz and Tatars. We have specially invited the representatives of these nations to the presentations ceremony of President Ilham Aliyev’s book “Quotations and analyses” held in Kishinev on December 20. Because we still feel for the support of these nations. We presented two computers to one of the Kishinev secondary schools where Azerbaijanis and Gagauz children study and to two Turkish gymnasiums which works only at the week-ends. On the occasion of 31 December the solidarity day of world Azerbaijanis we presented modern computer to Moldova Azerbaijani Congress though Islam widely spreads in Moldova, there is no mosques here. There is only one Muslim prayer house in Kishinev.
– What are your plans for future?
– Every month we give interviews to press. They want to put the monument of composer comita in front of Armenian Church. We asked Kishinev executive board to call one of the streets after Heydar Aliyev. The Executive agrees on our initiative and asked for the information about Heydar Aliyev’s services for Moldova during his activity in Soviet Union. There is Nizami Ganjavi’s monument in Kishinev, we made an initiative to renovate its surroundings and call the bus stop and one of the streets Baku or Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, we could not receive any answer from Baku concerning neither to the first not to the second issue. We have an agreement with Moldova Culture Ministry to celebrate Azerbaijani days in Moldova. This issue also serves to the interest of compatriot nations. According to our plan, culture days should have been celebrated on the 15th anniversary of Azerbaijani Independence. But our plan remained on paper; bake was indifferent to our plan. We want to display the film called “Garabagin harayi” (Cry of Karabakh) in Kishinev theatre. Unfortunately in some cases love for Azerbaijan is limited. /APA/

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