Toast remarks by H.E.Mr Elkhan Polukhov, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the Republic Day of Azerbaijan
Dear friends, ladies and gentleman, distinguished guests, representatives of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the brotherhood of the Turkish community, Azerbaijani compatriots.
Welcome to the celebration of the Republic Day of Azerbaijan – Xosh Gelmisiniz!!
Can we please observe a minute of silence to commemorate the memory of 15 people who lost their lives several days ago during a fire in a residential building in Baku.
Today we are marking the 97th Anniversary of the Republic of Azerbaijan taking roots from the first Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan – first in the oriental world. Azerbaijan is a young, democratic, ambitious country but with a healthy ambition.
It is a leader in economic and social development in the region, with reforms aimed to develop democracy even more. The diversification of our economy decries our dependence from oil to 40%.
Many international activities in sport, culture and other spheres have taken place in Azerbaijan and are planned to take place viz. Baku International Humanitarian Forum, Humanitarian forum of Intercultural Dialogue, First European Games, 2016 Formula One and the 2017 fourth Islamic Solidarity Games.
We cannot ignore the continuous occupation of Azerbaijani territory by neighbouring Armenia – 20 percent of occupied territory with 1 million refugees and IDPs. This includes 4 resolutions of the Security Council of the UN, a number of resolutions of the Council of Europe and documents from the EU and NATO –recognizing territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within internationally recognized borders.
In relation to the Sub Sahara region of Africa, we support the African agenda in the UN Security Council during our seat there as a non permanent member of the organization. Azerbaijan supported the candidature of Angola last year. Relations are growing not only with RSA but Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe and other countries.
A number of mutual visits have taken place and they open perspectives for economic development.
With regards to Cultural exchanges between our countries:
- 4 young kickboxers received training in Azerbaijan.
- The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra visited Azerbaijan last year to participate in the annual Gabala Music Festival. This year in Johannesburg a concert of Azerbaijani music took place with the participation of a world renowned Azerbaijani conductor and solo players.
- We are proud that the dance group Yurd won two gold and several silver and bronze medals a month ago during the SA International Dance Festival. The performing Azerbaijani dancers and one of the winners went to Azerbaijan a few weeks ago to take classes in the Ballet Academy.
I would like to convey a special thanks to FOA and his active members James and Kerri Day – who are not with us today, to Paramount Group, Truvello and other companies who support our activities.
And now let me propose a toast and to the prosperity of our countries and the good health of thre President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, and the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, His Excellency Ilham Aliyev.
Toast remarks by Mr Donald Liphoko, Deputy Director-General at the South African Ministry of Communications on the occasion of the National Day of the Republic Day of Azerbaijan
Ambassador Elkhan Polukhov
Ambassadors and High Commissioners and Consul-General’s
Heads of International Organisations Accredited to the Republic of South Africa
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of South Africa, it is a pleasure and great honour for me to convey to you, Your Excellency, our warmest greetings and congratulations to the Government and the people the Republic of Azerbaijan on the celebration of your National Day.
South Africa and Azerbaijan enjoy close and cordial relations of friendship and mutual beneficial co-operation. Azerbaijan, like South Africa, emerged from a turbulent history, to become the strong nation that it is today. Our countries share a common vision of a better life for our respective citizens and to become responsible members of the global community. Azerbaijan’s membership of the United Nations (UN); the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and many other organisations, demonstrate the desire not only to be integrated in the community of nations, but also to contribute in finding solutions to contemporary issues of geopolitical importance.
Your presence in South Africa continues to contribute to the strengthening and deepening of bilateral political and economic relations between our countries and to draw from our past experiences to build a better future for all.
Bilateral meetings took place between our Ministers and Senior Officials during 2012 and 2014, affording them with the opportunity to review strategic issues of common interest for both countries. We hope, Your Excellency, that conditions will allow us to continue to build on the foundation that has been laid.
South Africa and Azerbaijan also share a commitment to the development agenda of the South and the establishment of a democratic and equitable global governance system. In this context, we wish to express our appreciation for the efforts you are making to contribute to capacity-building and skills development in our country.
Our two countries will build on the foundation that has been laid through the signing of Protocol on Regular Political Consultations in 2014. We will endeavour to work towards the finalisation of outstanding Agreements in the identified key areas of co-operation, in an effort to further strengthen political and economic relations.
Beyond our bilateral interests, our partnership is also informed by our joint commitment to multilateralism and the rule of law in the conduct of international relations. We must continue our efforts to promote long overdue global governance reforms, especially in light on the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations in June of this year. The partnership between our countries in this regard is critical in supporting our collective contribution to global peace and security and sustainable development. Similarly, as members of the Non-Aligned Movement, we should utilise our bilateral and multilateral engagements to advance the development agenda of the South.
May I also take this opportunity to congratulate Azerbaijan for hosting the 3rd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, which ended yesterday (21 May 2015).
Your Excellency, allow me to conclude by re-affirming the strong bonds of friendship and solidarity that exist between our countries and our peoples. We look forward to the deepening of our relations in the coming years.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I invite you to join me in a toast to the President, the Government and the People of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and to the good relations and friendship between our countries.