15 November 2018

An hour with Ambassador - Interview with Habashneh

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12 Punto 14 Punto 16 Punto 18 Punto presents an interview with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan to Azerbaijan Nassar Ibrahim Mohammad al-Habashneh :

– How would you describe what you do? Can you tell us what a typical day looks like?

– First of all, diplomacy is a very nice profession. It is something that you live with, becomes your life. It takes all of your life and time. Describing my day… Maybe it will be boring for you. But it is a normal life like others’. You wake up in the morning, try to eat something and you go to work. Our work is not routine, every day comes with something new. So that is interesting. After work is also diplomacy. We meet with ambassadors, we have very social activities. Sometimes we try to make some sport, something we love. That’s how our days go.

– What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since becoming an Ambassador?

– In every profession, the challenge is how to force yourself to improve yourself, to do the best you can. There is nothing extraordinary, there is nothing impossible if you put your mind to do it.

– How would you describe the Azerbaijan-Jordan relationship in three words?

– It is so great!

– Mr. Ambassador, Jordan is one of the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan's independence. How can you assess current political and economic relations between Jordan and Azerbaijan? What were the major achievements between the two countries over 25 years of diplomatic relations?

– As you know Jordan recognized the independence of Azerbaijan on 28 December 1991. But our diplomatic relations started the almost little bit more than ten years. During this time both of us did their best to put the bases for this new relation. We have over 45 agreements between two countries. This is a big number of agreements. Of course, we have constant visits between the two countries. We had three royal visits to Azerbaijan. Abdullah II was in Azerbaijan three times. Ilham Aliyev was in Jordan two times. These are the best and the most important moments of our relations. Because it gives a big motive for all of us: to work hard and to improve our brotherly relations.

We have a big crisis in the region

– What is your vision of the future cooperation in the economic field between two countries? What steps can be taken to increase the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Jordan? Azerbaijan increasingly attracts foreign investments. What spheres do you believe to be perspective for doing business with Azerbaijan?

– First of all, we are trying to improve these relations. We are not happy with the level of our economic relations. We are facing almost seven years of huge war in Syria. Before it, that was in Iraq. We have a big crisis in the region. It all affected to our economic relations. In that region, it is a survival game. We know that our friends will wait for us. They will understand that we have many issues. So that’s why we have to wait a little bit. Future is great. We can see that. Azerbaijan is a huge potential. And Jordan is also a dynamic country with dynamic society. We can cooperate in many issues. Hopefully, we will see much better economic relations between the two countries.

– What work is done to expand the cultural aspect of relations?

– Mostly we are a team on participating in all cultural events, every festival, every gallery held in Azerbaijan. Also try to participate with groups from Jordan coming to Azerbaijan, also from Azerbaijan to Jordan. We keep in contact with cultural centers and there is always an exchange of visits between ministries of culture, writers, artists. This is an important issue that brings closer two people – Azerbaijanis and Jordanians.

– Do the citizens of Jordan consider Azerbaijan as an attractive travel destination? And how do they feel here?

– Azerbaijan is a new and interesting destination for Jordanians. You know they used to go to Turkey for holidays like Azeri people. But like many other Arab countries people discover this beautiful country. They get fascinated and really fall in love with Azerbaijan. Many Jordanians are interested in Baku.

They find Jordan as a safe heaven

– The Syrian crisis has turned Jordan into the country with the highest number of refugees. Some experts think that such a flow of refugees can be a threat to some countries. What does Amman think about refugees? Is there really some danger for Jordan?

– The refugee issue is a big challenge for Jordan. We have been dealing with this for seven years with Syrian people. Before it we had Iraqi. It was more than a million Iraqis in Jordan during the Iraqi crisis. Now we have 1.3 million Syrian refugees. Part of them is in the huge refugee camps. We are used to hosting people. We lived with the Palestinians over 60 years. We had to deal with the refugee issue. Of course, the refugee issue is one of the main challenges that Jordan faces. It is not the matter of the security danger. This is one aspect of it, not the main issue. It is the economic aspect. You have to deal with the huge number you have to share with them everything: jobs, water, hospitals, schools. Jordan is not a rich country. We have limited resources. And we have to share it with others. But we consider them as our brothers. Jordan and Jordanians always were open to everyone who needs. Not only from neighboring countries. We also have people from Sudan, from Libya, from Yemen. They find Jordan as a safe heaven. But everything has a price. Unfortunately, the international community is not doing enough to help those refugees in Jordan. These days we are facing a big challenge because of the US decision to stop all funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees. It is a big lost. We are depending on our brothers, our friends to support this agency. It is the part of Jordan’s diplomacy now to keep it on its feet for helping Palestinian refugees.

Aliyev and our leader King Abdullah are sources of stability

– Azerbaijan, like Jordan, is facing a huge flow of refugees. This was the result of the discrimination and deportation of the Nagorno-Karabakh war and Iravan against Azerbaijanis. We know that Jordan is next to Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Azerbaijan is a part of the Middle East, can the Karabakh conflict settlement be an example of a solution to a number of problems in Syria and the Middle East?

– Jordan supports reaching a peaceful to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We know that the war could be a solution, you are capable of that. But you are seeking a peaceful means to resolve this issue. I am sure you will reach such a settlement. Of course, it will be with help of international communities and friends of Azerbaijan. But war is not a good thing for both regions. Azerbaijan has a great potential and future. You have the capability and with the wisdom of your leader, you will solve that problem. This is something we feel. Because we also suffer from the same. I think your president Ilham Aliyev and our leader King Abdullah are sources of stability, vision to the future.

– We know that your country is located in an extremely difficult region, but Jordan is the country with the most stable economy and political life in the region. How does Amman achieve this?

– When you have enlightened, wise leadership this reflects on the way the country is, the way business is run. This is the main source of stability. We are one of the oldest countries in the region and we have the most stable regime at least one hundred years. And the people of Jordan are educated, peaceful, hospitable, optimistic. There are many factors those keep Jordan as a safe and attractive place for tourism and investments. And I think it will be an example for others in the future and they will rebuild their countries.

– Is it true that the final scene of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" was shot in the Petra in Jordan?

– Yes, of course. Petra is one of the oldest cities in the world. Petra is also called the Rose City due to the color of the stone out of which it is carved. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. Al-Khazneh was voted in as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Petra is an ancient, beautiful, mysterious city. Two years ago the movie “Mars” was shot there. Because desert is not far from Petra. The nature of that place looks like you are on Mars.

2018.09.04 / 13:00
Rafiga Mammadzadeh
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