Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan opening new chapter in co-op with EU
Azerbaijan and the EU tomorrow will start the negotiations on the new agreement, said President Ilham Aliyev making joint statement for the press with the European Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels, Belgium, on Feb. 6.
Azerbaijan’s president thanked Donald Tusk for invitation, and recalled Tusk’s successful visit to Azerbaijan in 2015.
“The cooperation between us is very fruitful, very sincere and there is big potential,” the Azerbaijani president said. “We have a very active political dialogue, and meet regularly and discuss important issues of political developments, political reforms in our country.”
“We are committed to continuation of democratic reforms in Azerbaijan in order to provide better opportunities for all the citizens of our country,” said Ilham Aliyev.
He further said that the energy cooperation is an important part of the Azerbaijan-EU cooperation.
“We successfully cooperate on the promotion of the Southern Gas Corridor project, which is one of the biggest infrastructure projects now implemented in Europe,” said the president, adding that the project needs more than $40 billion of investment.
“The Southern Gas Corridor project is a project of energy security and energy diversification. And when I say diversification, I mean not only routes, but also sources,” said the president.
He went on to add that Azerbaijan with its huge natural gas deposits is a new alternative source for natural gas for the European market.
“I informed Mr. President that the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor is moving successfully, and hopefully, with additional efforts, we will speed up the implementation of the project,” President Aliyev said.
“As Mr. President said, Europe is our main investor and Azerbaijan has created a very good investment climate. More than $200 billion were invested in the country’s economy since the restoration of our independence 25 years ago,” said IlhamAliyev. “Also, Europe is our main trading partner. We supply many European countries with oil, and, hopefully, very soon will supply them with natural gas.”
He went on to say that the sides discussed the issues of resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“I once again mentioned that for many years our lands are under occupation. Armenia occupied almost 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan, violated all the humanitarian norms, norms of international law,” Ilham Aliyev said.
He went on to add that Armenia also doesn’t implement the four resolutions of the UN Security Council adopted in the beginning of the 1990s, which demand immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian troops from Azerbaijan’s territories.
“Unfortunately, the occupation lasts for more than 20 years, and this occupation cannot be justified,” he said. “I am very grateful to Mr. President that in his comments he also once again expressed support for territorial integrity of our country,” President Aliyev said.
President Aliyev also went on to add that the sides discussed the huge potential cooperation in the area of transportation. He said this could be attractive to countries of the Eastern Partnership, and other European countries.
“Azerbaijan has largely invested in the creation of the new railroad connection in the region,” Ilham Aliyev said. He expressed hope that this new route, connecting Asia with Europe will be in operation, and help shorten the time moving cargoes from Europe to Asia and in the opposite direction, by almost two times.
“Also, and important part of our cooperation is intercultural dialogue,” Azerbaijani president said. “I am grateful to Mr. President for mentioning that Azerbaijan largely invests in dialogue between civilizations, cultures.”
President Aliyev went on to remind that Azerbaijan is a member of the Council of Europe and the Islamic Cooperation Organization.
He said Azerbaijan is a natural, geographical and cultural bridge between civilizations, and Azerbaijan’s investments in human capital bring good results.
Ilham Aliyev went on to add that Azerbaijan has good experience in cooperation with the member states of the European Union.
“With nine of them, that is one third of the member states, we already have documents, signed or adopted, on strategic partnership,” he said.
“And this is a good basis for future agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan, today is a remarkable day in the history of our cooperation because we are opening a new chapter in our cooperation,” President Aliyev said.
“I wish success to negotiators, and hope they will not lose time, start tomorrow and soon will present a document which will determine strategic cooperation between us for many years to come,” President Ilham Aliyev said.