The Caucasus is a common space for biosecurity - Umud Mirzayev | Eurasia Diary -

17 October,

The Caucasus is a common space for biosecurity - Umud Mirzayev

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An article about the International Eurasia Press Fund (IEPF) has recently been published on Golos Armenii. The article criticizes "Eurasia: a common biosafety platform" launched in June this year by the IEPF, an independent international non-governmental organisation that has been operating since long in Azerbaijan. Armenian journalists have accused Azerbaijan of creating a "new biological order" in the Caucasus without Armenia.
We appealed to the founder and president of the IEPF, well-known public figure Umud Mirzayev, to provide more information about the platform and comment on the next Armenian provocation.
- Dear Umud Mirzayev, how do you assess the negative reaction of the Armenian media towards the initiative of your organisation, and do you think it is worth paying attention to such provocations?
- For 30 years, Azerbaijan has tried to use the words of peace and diplomacy to return its lands in Karabakh. But life has proved once again that goodness is to some extent. For this reason, any provocation must be followed by an adequate and appropriate response.
But I do not agree with the message of your question. I do not consider the published article a provocation. This is evidence of the narrow-mindedness of the author, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper and the people who praise him on social networks. This is proof that most Armenian politicians and journalists are not far sighted. If you look at the situation in which the occupied territories returned to us, then you will understand what I said.
- The article says unpleasant things about you, the organisation you lead and the public figures who support your initiative.
- For a long time I have not paid attention to the attacks of the Armenian side against me. Let my people and country appreciate my activity. I consider the transfer of the issue to a personal level as an indication of the despair of the situation in Armenia and the part of society as a whole that supports it. But again, such attacks are not worth commenting on. We are on the right path and we should not pay attention to what they blabber.
- How did the idea to create a platform come about?
- Many people in our country could put forward this idea. We just became more flexible and determined. You can see the attention paid by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva, members of the government, MPs, regional authorities to the problem of combating COVID-19. In almost all international forums, the President called on the world community to work together to combat the new coronavirus infection. Realizing the alarming scale of the pandemic, our leader for the first time called on the representatives of all countries, without exception, to extend a helping hand and mutual support.
The staff of ourOrganisation and I also believe that we should not just listen but also agree with the initiatives of the President of Azerbaijan. We decided that we can contribute to the implementation of these initiatives at our level. This  was the crux of our idea. Thanks to the platform, we have realized our civic position.
- When announcing the platform, you said that the first step in uniting efforts to combat biological threats should be to create a common space for biosafety in the Caucasus. However, as the name of the platform suggests, it is aimed at the entire Eurasian continent.
- You know, at the end of the 18th century there was such a widespread political understanding of small issues. I partially support it. In the name of the platform, we have determined the direction of movement, but we still need to take small steps. Let's start with the Caucasus, this is our home. There is still much to be done here.
- In your opinion, why can Azerbaijan and Russia be leaders in building a common biosafety system?
- Intensive integration and the ability of the leaders of our countries to effectively resolve complex conflict situations in the post-Soviet area leave no choice. Azerbaijan is a key crossroads of Eurasian trade routes, and Russia has developed sanitary-epidemiological control and response systems since the Soviet era, especially against the spread of dangerous infections. Now on its basis a new technological platform "sanitary shield" is being created. I am convinced that cooperation is inevitable in creating a common defence against biological threats.
- Do the Azerbaijani government and politicians support the platform?
- Our Fund is a non-profit organization and the launch of the platform is a civic initiative. This is a long-term project and we do not expect immediate results. I communicate with many politicians and talk about the platform. I have not heard any negative feedback from anyone yet. If any politician wants to openly support this initiative, we are ready to provide our own platform.
- The platform aims to develop integration with Russia in terms of establishing a joint system for the detection and response to epidemiological emergencies. Do they support your efforts there?
- Our initiative was widely covered in the Russian media. This means that there is a need for such initiatives in society. The complicated epidemiological situation in our countries and the increase in political activity in connection with the preparations for the parliamentary elections in Russia hinder a broader exchange of views.
- Dear Umud Mirzayev, would you like to say something at the end of our interview?
- In conclusion, I invite public figures, journalists and politicians from Armenia to join our platform. The Caucasus is a common space for biosecurity.


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