THE TALE OF TWO COUNTRIES WORKING TOWARD SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
London, June 1, 2023 - A grand official banquet took place at the prestigious "Lancaster House" in London on the occasion of Azerbaijan's Independence Day and in honour of its Armed Forces. The remarkable event brought together approximately 600 distinguished guests, including representatives of the state and government of Great Britain, members of parliament, diplomatic corps accredited in Britain, ambassadors, military attachés, and esteemed members of various communities, including Lord David Evans, Lord Gurban Hussain, Baroness Manzila Uddin, Academician Nargiz Pashayeva, a member of the Board of Directors of the Nizami Ganjavi Scientific Centre of Oxford University and Bob Blackman, head of the UK-Azerbaijan inter-parliamentary relations friendship group.
Ambassador Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan's ambassador to Britain, delivered an inspiring opening speech, highlighting the historical significance of the day. He emphasised that the Azerbaijan People's Republic, established on May 28, 1918, was the first democratic parliamentary republic in the Muslim East, leaving a lasting legacy in the country's national identity. Ambassador Suleymanov underscored how the Republic's heritage played a vital role in the reestablishment of the Republic of Azerbaijan's independence in 1991.
Image: Azerbaijan Independence Day. Location: Lancaster House. Photo Credit: The Embassy of Republic of Azerbaijan.
Ambassador Suleymanov addressed the flourishing bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Great Britain, highlighting their rapid expansion across all fields. He acknowledged that the solid foundation of successful cooperation between the two nations was laid by the National Leader of the Azerbaijani people, Heydar Aliyev. The ambassador commended the continued development of these relations under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev.
Expressing gratitude for the Azerbaijan Armed Forces' significant contributions to global peace and stability, the ambassador emphasized the partnership between Azerbaijani, Turkish, and British soldiers in safeguarding civilian populations, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. He stressed the importance of recognizing the selfless service rendered by the Azerbaijani armed forces.
Chris Allan, Head of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Department of the British Foreign Ministry, commended the strong friendship between Azerbaijan and Britain. Allan noted that Britain stands as one of the largest investors in Azerbaijan, with over 400 British-capital companies operating in the country. He also highlighted the collaboration between British and Azerbaijani companies in the field of green energy, emphasizing their joint efforts in sustainable development.
Allan further emphasized the close political relations between the two countries and recalled the recent visit of Leo Docherty, the British Minister of State for the European Region, to Azerbaijan in February. The speaker underlined the strategic importance of the South Caucasus region in maintaining global security and stability.
The event was graced with the melodious performances of Azerbaijani compositions by the British Imperial Military Quintet at the entrance of "Lancaster House," further enhancing the celebratory atmosphere.
Additionally, an exclusive photo exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of National Leader Heydar Aliyev captivated guests by showcasing his remarkable life and outstanding achievements. The exhibition paid tribute to his instrumental role in fostering cooperation between Azerbaijan and Great Britain. Attendees also had the pleasure of indulging in a delightful tasting of organic Meysari wines, produced in Azerbaijan, which added a touch of Azerbaijani culture to the occasion. The event further highlighted the rich heritage of Azerbaijan with captivating dance performances by Sakina Mukhtarova, Babek Atashi, and Malik Tabrizi.
Lancaster House, renowned for hosting official events of the British government, once again served as the center-piece for this grand celebration. Over the course of British history, the historic venue has witnessed numerous important diplomatic meetings and events.