UNITED NATIONS, May 1 (Itar-Tass) – Priorities of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy will remain unchanged and will be considered topical notwithstanding the start of the country’s term of rotating presidency at the UN Security Council, the Azerbaijani ambassador to the UN, Agsin Mehtiev said Sunday.
As of May 1, Azerbaijan presides at the Security Council. It took over the rotating presidency of the UN’s top ruling body from the U.S. in April and will hand it to China in a month’s time.
The country was elected to the Security Council for the first time since it acquired independence in 1991. The election took place in October 2011 at the UN General Assembly session.
The other countries that got seats at the Security Council then were Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan, and Togo.
January 1, 2012, Azerbaijan got the powers of the Council’s nonpermanent member.
Membership of the Security Council will not affect Azerbaijan’s foreign policy priorities, which according to Mehtiev are stable and permanent.
Since the plan for the Security Council’s activity for the next 31 days has not been endorsed yet, the ambassador declined to specify its details but said: “The agenda will feature the issues pertaining to the maintenance of international peace and security, prevention of terrorism , the situation in the Balkans and, quite naturally, the Middle East, North Africa and Africa in general.”
“As you may probably know, the Security Council hears regularly the reports by the UN Secretariat on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian problem,” Mehtiev said. “Quite naturally, this will be reflected in our program.”
The situation in Syria will remain one of the highlights of the Security Council’s activity, he said.
Mehtiev recalled that Azerbaijan is a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and of the Non-Aligned Movement but nonetheless “it has a position of its own on many items of the UN agenda.”
“If at some point our opinion happens to be identical with the opinions of other countries, that’s splendid, but if not, we have principles of our own and we aren’t going to go back on them,” he said.
As he looked back at the four months that had elapsed since the start of Azerbaijan’s membership at the Security Council, he said the Azerbaijanis had gotten “some precious experience”.
“It’s the first time that our country has been elected to the Security Council and it’s also the fist time that we’re presiding in this agency,” Mehtiev said. “That’s a really great school for any diplomat regardless of his or her age and the previous record of professional activity.”