Javanshir Salehov, Chargé d'Affaires and head of the Azerbaijan diplomatic mission in Havana, noted the ties of friendship between his country and Cuba. Photo: Nuria Barbosa

Bilateral relations between Cuba and the Republic of Azerbaijan are developing positively, stated Javanshir Salehov, Chargé d’Affaires and head of the country’s diplomatic mission, speaking to reporters in Havana.

The Azerbaijani diplomat noted that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of relations between the two governments, marked by rapprochement in various areas such as the arts, sport and political cooperation.

He also explained that since 1992, Azerbaijan has supported Cuba’s resolution presented in the UN General Assembly, calling for an end to the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on the island by the United States for over 50 years.

He added that exchanges in different economic spheres are being consolidated, and highlighted the interest in making Azerbaijani culture known among Cubans, in order to strengthen the friendly ties between the two peoples. The two countries have a shared history, dating back to when the Central Asian nation formed part of the Soviet Union and thousands of young Cubans studied at the Azerbaijani universities of Baku and other cities.

“We want every Cuban to consider him or herself a friend of the Azerbaijanis,” Salehov stated, noting the existence of a solidarity organization created by Cuban professionals who received training in Azerbaijan, who gather to share their memories of the time.

The diplomat described his country as peaceful, where communities of diverse nationalities and religious backgrounds coexist, while explaining that Azerbaijan’s economy is moving toward modernity and plays an important role in the Eurasia region, despite the economic difficulties experienced following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

These obstacles have not prevented the development of the oil industry and agriculture, to make the country the focus of investments for many European companies. Azerbaijan’s geographical location also helps, as it serves as a bridge between Europe and Asia, providing the possibility of supplying energy and gas to other nations.

The country’s government is currently working in the international sphere to make Azerbaijani culture more widely known.

Salehov provided the example of the festivities of Novruz, celebrated at the end of March each year, to welcome the Spring, with rituals, traditions, dances, games and the preparation of typical dishes, some of which he elaborated on.

The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was founded on May 28, 1918, as the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world. Two years later it became part of the Soviet Union, and on the latter’s collapse, it became an internationally recognized independent nation.