Date: 22 July 2016, 17:24, READ:
"I consider it a success to leave Azerbaijan with good impression. I want Azerbaijani people to remember me as a good person. If it happens, that means I succeeded...”. The Egyptian Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan Susan Jamil said "Kaspi” was the first publishing house she visited in Azerbaijan.
Strengthening mutual relations
- Dear ambassador, welcome to our office. We would love to know more about your activities and career. We know that it is not easy for women to climb the career ladder in the Arab world.
- I have studied Political Science and Economics at the University of Cairo. I come from Alexandria which is one of the biggest cities of Egypt. As this city was far from Cairo, I had to move to the capital city. We have a common exam for all 11th graders in my country. I was the first in the country according to my exam results. It was my dream to work at the Foreign Ministry back then. And I made it come true in 1981. My husband is also an ambassador. After getting married, we began to work as ambassador in two different countries. This was a huge problem for the family. I have two daughters. They were always with me. I was both a mother and father to them. It wasn’t easy for me. My daughters are grown up now. One of them is with her father. My husband was an ambassador to Sudan. By the way, he worked in Kazakhstan when he was an adviser. I have visited Kazakhstan before coming to Azerbaijan. I observe that Azerbaijan is on the path to development. I have worked in many countries after starting to work for the Foreign Ministry. I have gained a lot of good experience during this time. I worked as the first representative of Egypt to the UN in Geneva. I was the Consul General of Egypt in French city of Marseilles. I have worked as the Egyptian ambassador in Ecuador. I’ve also been the Consul General of Egypt in Canada. I’m proud of the fact that I will retire as a diplomat in Azerbaijan.
- How do you assess the Egypt-Azerbaijan relations at the moment?
- I was working on Azerbaijan while I was working at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. So I know about Azerbaijan. Egypt was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan. But today’s Azerbaijan is not the same Azerbaijan I read about. If we talk about political ties, the relations between Egypt and Azerbaijan are based on history. These ties are strong and brotherly. Of course, these relations would have to be turned into economic and cultural ties as well. It meant that the officials of two countries had to increase their visits to each other. And this benefits both countries. After becoming an ambassador to Azerbaijan in September, I have tried to increase the number of official trips. Mutual official trips are important because it helps us to get to know each other better. Thank God, we have achieved that to some degree. Various Egyptian officials have visited Azerbaijan. Recently high profile military officers visited Azerbaijan and hold meetings with president Ilham Aliyev and other authorities. The delegation of Azerbaijani Defense Industry is preparing to visit Egypt. I’m certain that these relations will become even stronger. An Egyptian delegation visited Azerbaijan in May to talk about tourism. So there’s a strong partnership between us on tourism. As for economic and trade partnership, there is a preparation going on for holding a conference on Egypt-Azerbaijan joint commission. There’s also a talk going on between the Oil Ministry of Egypt and SOCAR on selling oil to Egypt. Ilham Aliyev is expected to visit Egypt until the end of this year.
- What can you say about the partnership between Egypt and Azerbaijan on education?
- We were really interested in teaching Arabic to Azerbaijani students. Language is a means of communication between people. There is a department in Egypt that teaches Azerbaijani and Turkish languages. Around 150 people graduate from that faculty every year. This is a very good number. We would like the same amount of Azerbaijani students to learn Arabic language. Thus we asked the Foreign Ministry to send Azerbaijan Arab language teachers. The ministry sent one teacher and she is teaching Arabic in various universities. Egypt Cultural Center also teached Azerbaijanis and foreigners Arabic language free of charge. If this continues, many in Egypt will speak Azerbaijani and Turkish while Azerbaijani learn how to speak Arabic. Egyptians government has also announced 5 scholarship for Azerbaijanis who want to learn Arabic.
- Egypt has made a lot of progress in producing Hepatitis "C” treatment. Do people who specialize in this field in your country think of investing in Azerbaijan?
- It’s being discussed with the Health and Economy ministries of Azerbaijan. The treatment of this disease is expensive in Azerbaijan but cheap in Egypt. Absheron district Executive Authority Irada Gulmammadova has said that there is a place in the district where a factory can be built. It all depends on the outcomes of the talks.
We support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan
- A coup attempt was defeated by Turkish people and law enforcement agencies recently. We remember a military coup taking place in Egypt in 2013. Admittedly, it was a different social and political situation. How do you characterize the situation in Egypt today?
- It wasn’t a military coup in Egypt. What happened in Turkey is very different from what happened in Egypt. In Egypt, the army acted in accordance with the will of the people. On June 30, Egyptian people took to the streets and demanded the resignation of the Muslim Brotherhood. I was also in the streets with my daughters at the time. Egyptians people were in the streets with flags in their hands. But the situation in Turkey is different. The Armed forces attempted a coup. But the people objected to it and the will of the people prevailed.Even though the events were different in two countries, the result was the same – the will of the people prevailed.
- We would like to know the stance of Egypt on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. How does Egypt think this conflict can be resolved?
- Egypt has always defended the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. We have also supported the UN resolutions calling for the return of the occupied territories in Karabakh. We have also supported all resolutions of the Islamic Conference Organization. We support the peaceful resolution of the conflict. President Ilham Aliyev tries to awaken the conscience of the world every time he talks about the conflict. There is a famous Egyptian phrase: the justice is never lost. I believe there will be an important change in the settlement of the conflict after the latest meetings of the presidents.
The attractiveness of Egyptian women
- Egyptian women has made significant progress compared to other Arabic women and stand out with both their active role in social sphere as well as their beauty. They have similarities to Azerbaijani women. How can you explain this difference?
- Beauty is the God’s gift. The most beautiful Arab women live in Lebanon and Syria. But Egyptian women are more attractive. They have strong charm. The freedom and progress of Egyptian women has a long history. It has been a painful path for Egyptian women to get where they are now. Egyptian women didn’t accept to be housewives. This doesn’t mean they don’t do any chores at home. Their main job is at home. However, they suffered a lot to defend their right to work. Today we have female ambassadors and judges. Despite this progress, we have some radical groups that don’t want to see women's progress. They say the religion prohibits women from working. But this is a wrong approach.
Similarities between two countries
- You must have been closely acquainted with our traditions and values while you have worked in Azerbaijan. Do you think there is a similarity between our customs and traditions?
- Of course, there are many similarities. There are many words of Arabic descent in Azerbaijani language. This means we have the same root. Azerbaijani people are conservatives by nature just like us. When I look at your face, I feel like I’ve seen these faces in Egypt. Your food is also similar to ours. I have no problem when I eat your food. People of both countries are kind, fair and patriotic. These are traits that set us apart from others. There are countries where they look hospitable. But that is insincere and doesn’t come from heart. The hospitality of Azerbaijani and Egyptian people are genuine.
- Do you listen to Azerbaijani music? Do you like our Mughams?
- The first event I visited when I first came to Azerbaijan was a Mugham festival. We had a similar contest in Egypt. As you know, we produce carpets in Egypt. Azerbaijan also has an ancient history of carpet making. Out carpets don’t have special embroidery. Their colors are sometimes not that good. But Egyptian people like hand crafted things. That’s why we like hand woven carpets. I took a picture once when I was at the Carpets Museum and shared it on Facebook. After visiting this museum, I become convinced that we don’t have carpet industry in Egypt.
- Thanks for coming to our office!
- I wish success to the whole staff of "Kaspi” newspaper.