Israel National News spoke with Sevil Mikailova, Milli Mejlis (parliament) Member, Azerbaijan, on the occasion of her first official visit to Israel.
“From the very moment arriving in this beautiful country I felt this warmness from the people, from friends which I met. Today and tomorrow we are having events scheduled to commemorate the victims of a hotel genocide which was committed by Armenian aggressors 30 years ago in 1992 in a small town of Azerbaijan. And now it is the 30th [anniversary] of this tragedy and we will commemorate this tragic event here in Israel.”
Mikailova describes relations between Israel and Azerbaijan – there is an Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan but no Azerbaijani embassy in Israel – “as a high level because our relations are not just only between the two states but we have historic routes.”
“We are very proud of our history, we are very proud of our relations with Jewish people and even now they are equal members of the society in Azerbaijan,” Mikailova says. “We celebrate all holidays irrespective of religious tradition. Also, on the ground the Muslim citizens of Azerbaijan feel okay and the Jews feel okay with the their Muslim neighbors. We have synagogues in Azerbaijan which are really one of the very sacred places for Jews and again we preserve these values and we share everything.”
Coming from a Muslim country with good relations with the Jewish people, she mentions that seeing relations between Jews and Arabs throughout the centuries being full of tension is a “sad history.”
“The news about the clashes in this area they are very painful for us to hear,” she says. “But we do believe that one day durable peace will come to this land and people here will live with a full understanding and respect each other.”
On the topic of a potential war between Ukraine and Russia, Mikailova says: “I want to say that Azerbaijan supports the territorial integrity of countries. This is the fundamental right of each country as indicated in the UN Charter. It’s really sad that tensions around Ukraine are arising. We do believe that political dialogue would be the better choice for the sides to come to a common ground because war means victims, war is blood, and believe me that taking into account our own experience I want to say that it leads to many human casualties.”
In terms of the 2020 Azerbaijan war with Armenia, Mikailova explains that the war ended with victory for Azerbaijan, who liberated their territory from Armenian occupation.
“The UN Security Council has issued four resolutions which demanded that Armenian forces unconditionally withdraw from Azerbaijani territory but unfortunately over 30 years Armenia denied these resolutions. It didn’t implement these resolutions although it had international obligations. The irresponsibility of Armenia led to the war. We won the war and we are grateful to our partners, to all other friendly and fraternal countries who supported Azerbaijan’s just position.”
Israel supported Azerbaijan during the war, and was one of the countries who supplied weapons and technology to Azerbaijan, she notes.
“The political support which we received from Israel is very important. It means that they recognize the territory of Azerbaijan. For us this is the basic principle to have relationship with any other country,” she says. “It’s very important to have a strong army and Israeli weapons of course helped and Israel was one of these countries that supplied weapons under contract to Azerbaijan.”
She adds: “It was very important for us to have this strong army which could restore justice, which could help us implement the UN Security Council resolutions. Now after the victory justice was restored. We are very grateful to all our partners, to all our friends, and of course Israel.”