POLITICS


Ambassador Carole Crofts: UK-Azerbaijan relations are built on deep and solid foundations

Baku, March 3, AZERTAC

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom, British Ambassador Ms. Carole Crofts gave an interview to AZERTAC`s special correspondent.

During this 25 years UK and Azerbaijan have improved and enlarged their relations diplomatically, economically, socially etc. What do you think of our future relations?

The UK was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan 25 years ago. Our bilateral relations are built on deep and solid foundations and from this excellent base the prospects for growth are excellent. The UK is by far the largest foreign investor in Azerbaijan. And UK investment and commitment to this market is set to continue for many, many years. Over the last few decades we have developed various areas where we cooperate, forged many new partnerships and encouraged more British companies to this market than ever before. Our work together has created jobs and growth for both countries. The Zaha Hadid designed Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre is an great example of British creativity in the heart of Baku. And the Azerbaijan Grand Prix showcases the best of British innovation and technology in the Formula 1 industry. I am delighted that the UK enjoys a high reputation here as a stable and trusted partner. Oil and gas plays a major role in the economy here and BP is the single largest foreign investor; it is as a result of BP’s investment that many other countries in the oil and gas supply chain are active in Azerbaijan. There are also many other sectors where we work together, including transport, water and financial & professional services. We have a very active British Business Group with a thriving membership. And of course there are many Azerbaijanis in the UK, working and studying, and developing economic, cultural and social links between our two countries.

Is UK in the interest of improving and enlarging our relations? and in what way?

We are also very lucky to have the British Council represented here in Baku and playing such an active role both in Baku and outside the capital, in areas covering the arts, English language training, education and curriculum reform. For example, last year 6,000 English teachers, that is half of this country’s English teachers, received British Council professional and skills development under our partnership with the Ministry of Education. And I am delighted that the UK remains the destination of choice for Azerbaijani students wishing to study abroad. Recently students have studied at universities all over the UK from St Andrews to Aberystwyth. There are some interesting interviews on our Facebook page with some of these students, all of whom seem to have had a wonderful time. When I or members of my embassy visit different parts of Azerbaijan, from Naxchivan to Sheki, from Sumqayit to Lankaran, we always hear requests for more English materials, more English exchanges and more scholarships for study in the UK. These links are vital for our bilateral relationship and I would like to see more and more exchanges between the young people of our two countries.

Orkhan Ismayilov

Special correspondent

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