History

Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Washington, D.C.

 

 

Azerbaijan sits at one of the world’s pivotal crossroads. An inclusive and diverse nation along the legendary Silk Road, Azerbaijan has long been a place where cultures intersect and flourish. It is a place where people come together to trade, think, create, and dream.

 

Azerbaijan is true to its proud history and its enduring traditions. At the same time, under President Ilham Aliyev’s leadership, it is innovative and forward-looking.

 

History

 

Being one of the oldest spots of civilization, Azerbaijan is a country with a rich and ancient history. Throughout centuries the people of Azerbaijan, have developed a distinctive and unique traditions of statecraft and governance in the territories of nowadays Azerbaijan and beyond. While an authentically Azerbaijani identity and statehood was already existed in different state formations since couple millennia, Azerbaijan has also emerged as the first parliamentary republic in the Muslim world on May 28, 1918. It was crushed in 1920 by the Bolshevik invasion, yet during its short existence, the Republic of Azerbaijan became another symbol of historical Azerbaijani statehood identity. It was at that time, that Azerbaijan granted its citizens equal rights regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation, as well as equal voting rights to men and women. In fact, Azerbaijan granted full voting rights to women before many other nations, including the United States. This unique legacy was recognized by the former U.S. President Barack Obama, who described Azerbaijan as “an example for the international community as a first democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world.”

 

Today, the citizens of Azerbaijan, which restored its statehood in 1991, are proud of their long-standing tradition of diversity and their nation’s remarkable progress made since independence.

 

As a member of both the Council of Europe and the Organization of Islamic Conference, Azerbaijan is in a unique position to bridge divisions and to promote greater understanding. Home to vibrant and centuries-old Jewish and Christian communities, Azerbaijan has also developed strong relations with Israel. Azerbaijan’s leadership in promoting tolerance and cultural dialogue is widely recognized and highly valued by world leaders.

 

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised Azerbaijan’s “commitment to fighting anti-Semitism and a commitment to diversity and pluralism.” According to Secretary Kerry, “Azerbaijan is a wonderful statement about the ability of different religions, different sects to come together and live together and to find a way forward.”

 

In recognition of its tremendous global strides, an overwhelming number of United Nations member-states elected Azerbaijan to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2012-13.

 

Yet, even as Azerbaijan actively engages in promoting peace internationally, the protracted Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict remains unresolved with some 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally-recognized territories under illegal occupation by Armenia and nearly a million people displaced by force as a result of ethnic cleansing. Contrary to several U.N. Security Council resolutions and numerous other international documents as well as international mediation efforts, Armenia continues to reject basic principles of international law and refuses to withdraw its military forces from Azerbaijan. Armenia’s illegal occupation remains a major threat to regional peace and security, an obstacle for unlocking the full potential of the South Caucasus and the cause of frequent loss of live on both sides.

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