APA presents an interview with Sahil Gasimov, President of the Congress of European Azerbaijanis (CEA)
Q. An extraordinary session of the Congress of European Azerbaijanis (CEA) took place lately. What will the session induce during the next activity period of the CEA?
A. The VI extraordinary session of the Congress of European Azerbaijanis kicked off in Amsterdam on February 27. Report on the activities of the CEA Managerial Board for 1 year was announced, at the same time, action plan and road map for 2018-2021 were adopted at the session. This session became known with many reforms. Thus, the Executive Committee was abolished, with Managerial Board being established. Central Council of the CEA was restored. Moreover, it was stated that Regional Centers will be formed in main European territories, and other Centers involving our compatriots, similar to The Benelux Azerbaijanis Congress, will be further established in Scandinavia, Baltics, Eastern Europe and other geographical areas. Many important documents were introduced at the session. Undoubtedly, the CEA will function in an efficient way, with the newly selected staff, and will play a very big part in revealing realities of Azerbaijan to the world and European community and the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at a political level.
Q. Some lamented the lack of unity among the Azerbaijani diaspora in Europe and that Azerbaijan’s mission on the continent is not duly fulfilled. Notably, there expressed some concern over disputes with the lobby of the country hostile to Azerbaijan. What are your associate plans, taking into account the active involvement of the CEA for one year? Simultaneously, what are your plans in the field of lobbying, and advocacy and information?
A. Coming into together in the CEA, robust competitive organizations fulfill the mission undertaken by the Diaspora in a professional manner. Today, the Congress of European Azerbaijanis is such an institution that involves hundreds of Azerbaijani organizations and communities, all of which are being managed from the main center in an orderly way. Although in some cases minor resentments can exist between the organizations, these are not subjective, and just happen due to various approaches to the issues arising during work process. Such minor cases could never prejudice solidity and unity of the CEA. According to the recommendations given by the Head of State, the Congress of European Azerbaijanis is determined to move forward in the lobbying process and make a transition to the attack from defense, without need to be organized. For example, that The Congress of European Azerbaijanis hosted the International Brussels Conference against Separatism, which was held with the organizational support of the Azerbaijan State Diaspora Committee on November, 2017, is an illustrative evidence of it. The meeting initiated by Azerbaijan-Luxembourg Inter-Parliamentary Friendship group of the CEA at the Luxembourg Parliament is one of the most vital steps towards lobbying. Significant political meetings held at Finland Parliament and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country in Helsinki on February, 2018 are deemed to be vital actions taken by the Congress of European Azerbaijanis in the area of lobbying.
Q. At what level is your cooperation with local political and social communities in Europe? Generally speaking, recently different campaigns against Azerbaijan are conducted by some groups among some European parliamentarians and media representatives. Do you have any plans on penetrating into this sector and in general, on building direct relationship with the representatives of these bodies in a view to revealing the realities of Azerbaijan?
A. The Congress of European Azerbaijanis functions in a way that it has direct relationships with the European political elite. High-level meetings held by the CEA at Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg on January, 2017, Ukrainian Supreme Rada on September, 2017, European Parliament in Brussels on November, 2017, Finland Parliament and Ministry of Foreign Affairs on February, 2018 and other associate meetings prove it once more. The meeting between Head of Azerbaijan-Luxembourg Friendship group Elmira Akhundova and Chief of Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg Mars Du Bartolomeo, held at Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg, became history as the first meeting that organized between Azerbaijan and Luxembourg over the last 25 years. On a visit organized by the CEA, Jacque Henckes, one of the well-known politicians of Luxembourg, came to Baku with his delegation in October of last year. During these meetings, the point behind campaigns against Azerbaijan is explained and what forces are behind these campaigns are announced to European politicians. By standing in front of the murky campaigns being conducted against Azerbaijan even from now on, the CEA will function in dialogue with all political groups in European countries. Place and date of the political events due to take place in some European countries have been already defined. Various events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the genocide committed against Azerbaijanis will be held in the following months. Large-scale events are planned to be held in Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Denmark and many other countries. On the other side, this year will mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and 2018 has been announced as the Year of Democratic Republic by the Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. The Congress of European Azerbaijanis, together with the Azerbaijan State Diaspora Committee, arranged an action plan and this remarkable date will be marked in different European countries on a broad-scale.
Q. What do you think about the unity of Azerbaijani businessmen around the CEA, generally, about the economic factors?
A. Indeed not only businessmen, but also politicians, academics, art community, athletes, all of whom are famously known in Azerbaijan and Europe, and young people gathered around the CEA. As seen, the CEA has turned into robust political organization on a global level. The Congress of European Azerbaijanis will successfully execute action plan for 2018-2021, by tapping into all the resources at hand.