Azer Khudiyev: Baku Process: 10 years of experience in dialogue and cooperation

Azer Khudiyev: Baku Process: 10 years of experience in dialogue and cooperation

That was 10 years ago. An unprecedented conference was held in early December 2008 in Baku called 'Intercultural dialogue - the basis for peace and sustainable development of Europe and neighboring regions'. It was initiated by the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Dozens of Islamic states took part in this event that broke ground for a new cooperation format - the Baku Process. It is an interactive international platform, the main purpose of which is to develop areal mechanism for an effective intercultural, interreligious and inter civilizational dialogue. It is worth to note that the Baku Process is the most important component of the cultural diplomacy of Azerbaijan.

Year sare flying. Supported by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Azerbaijani Embassy in France and the Permanent Mission to UNESCO hosted on June 12, 2018 in Paris the celebration of the 10thanniversary of the Baku Process. Over the years, impressive conferences and forums with numerous participants had been held under the Baku Process in order to contribute to intercultural dialogue, global security issues and finding ways for joint development. Experts from various countries unanimously declare that the Baku Process can contribute to the new world order.

There is no secret for anyone that various countries are facing many global challenges and problems, including the inviolability of borders and non-compliance with international law. Such problems most negatively affect the issues of regional and global geopolitics, which in turn prevents the formation of a new world order.

According to UNESCO Deputy Director General Qu Xing, the Baku Process is a unique platform that meets all the new requirements of a swiftly developing and changing world. Therefore, the Baku Process plays its own, essential role in forming a new world order. Therefore, we would like to highlight some major issues concerning this unique platform's functioning

Let's start with the fact that the Baku Process represents a new geopolitical value created in Azerbaijan. It is based on the concept of 'Azerbaijani-hood' developed by the ex-president of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev. Special role in this ideological system of the cultures' interaction belongs to the harmonization of the national and the international. The commitment of Azerbaijanis to their cultural values is complemented by their openness to the cultural values of other nations. The Azerbaijani society has always strived and is striving exactly for interaction and cooperation with other subjects of world's history.

The Azerbaijani political elite is taking into account this feature of our society which affects the foreign policy priorities of our government. In this context, the Baku Process is a transformation of the idea of intercultural interaction into a foreign political course. As the 10-year experience of the Baku Process shows, this transformation is very successful and attractive. It is proved by statistics. Initially, 48 countries had joined the Baku Process, and over the past 10 years this number had grown to 100.

But the geopolitical significance of the Baku Process is not just about increasing the numbers of its participants. Most importantly, the international community is now more aware of its mission's geopolitical value. The Baku Process motivates intercultural dialogue between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Council of Europe.

Inaddition, the Baku Process, as an interactive international platform,can promote regional cooperation. Undoubtedly, intercultural dialoguecreates a suitable ground for the implementation of various projects:economic, environmental, energy, transit, cultural and many others.

Quiteobviously, if we have good relations between regional countries andreal mechanisms of mutual understanding, good opportunities forcooperation in various areas arise. In this context, it would belogical to assume a positive impact of the Baku Process on the causeof developing cooperation between the countries of the BlackSea-Caspian basin.

Thisgeopolitical space includes countries populated by both Muslims andChristians. Warm relations based on mutual respect have beentraditionally formed between the peoples of these countries.Moreover, the countries of Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Georgia,Romania, Ukraine and other Black Sea-Caspian basin countriessuccessfully cooperate under the frames of various regional andglobal organizations. For instance, almost all countries of the BlackSea-Caspian basin are involved in the 'One Belt, One Way' project;and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)unites 12 countries.

Aunique and positive experience has already been gained forcooperation and dialogue between the countries of the BlackSea-Caspian basin. At that, it is important to note one thing. As theBSEC experience demonstrates, even when political and diplomaticrelations were interrupted between some countries of the BlackSea-Caspian basin, this organization served a role of platform fordialogue between them. And here I want to note that the Baku Processis widely able to give new momentum to organize dialogue and developcooperation between the countries of the Black Sea-Caspian basin,particularly, since the Baku Process covers the entire Islamic worldand Europe.

Iam deeply convinced that within its frame, the Azerbaijani-Ukrainiancooperation can be invigorated. We believe that our country, theinitiator of the Baku Process, together with Ukraine, one of thelargest Eastern Europe countries, can generate future joint projectsthat will be interesting both for the formation of new regionalcooperation forms, and successful implementation of global projectssuch as 'One Belt, One Way'.

Weare confident that the Baku Process, a project born and successfullyimplemented on the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev, has greatpotential in establishing a dialogue and cooperation on aninternational scale. The successful 10-year experience of thisprocess suggests that it attracts a growing number of participatingstates. So why Ukraine, a friend-state for Azerbaijan, not take amore active position in this platform? In our view, all the BakuProcess members will benefit from this!

Khudiyev Azer Hudayar oglu - Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Ukraine


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