Riga, July 17, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Latvia Raimonds Vejonis has hosted an official reception in honor of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
– Dear Mr. President,
Ladies and gentlemen!
First of all, Mr. President, I want to express my gratitude to you for the hospitality extended to me and the delegation.
I am very glad to be back to your friendly country, which has a rich history and culture. I have pleasant recollections of our meeting and exchange of views held within the framework of the Fifth Global Baku Forum in March this year.
There are many similar moments in the history of our countries. In 1919, the delegations of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and Latvia addressed the appeal to the Paris Peace Conference for de jure recognition of their newly-created states. A year later, the Azerbaijani parliament decided to open a representative office in Latvia.
Next year, our states, having restored their independence at the same time, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of state building. After the restoration of state independence, a new page opened in the history of our bilateral relations. Over these years, our countries have made great strides, while our peoples have lived peacefully in the conditions of stability and security.
Today, there are good opportunities for cooperation between our countries in the fields of energy, transport, agriculture, education and other areas. I am sure that the negotiations we have held, the business forum we have attended, the agreements reached and the documents signed, in particular the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Latvia, will give an important impetus to the development of our relations.
Our humanitarian ties also have a rich history. At the beginning of the 20th century, a Latvian Society functioned in Baku. In 2013, it resumed its activities. Famous Latvian writers Ernest Birznieks-Upitis, Janis Vainovskis, August Berze, artist and writer Jānis Jaunsudrabiņš, conductor of the Baku Opera House and composer Jāzeps Mediņš, architect Ervins Paumbats and others lived and worked in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan and the European Union have close partnership relations in political, economic, humanitarian, energy and other spheres. After my visit to Brussels earlier this year, we started work on a new partnership agreement.
Azerbaijan pays special attention to the implementation of the North-South and East-West transport corridors, which offer ample opportunities for the expansion of economic, trade and transport ties. At the same time, Azerbaijan has initiated and participates in a number of large-scale international projects. The Southern Gas Corridor, one of the largest energy projects in the world, plays an important role both in the energy security of Europe and in cooperation with European states in a bilateral and multilateral format.
Azerbaijan makes an important contribution to security, stability, development and cooperation in the region. However, the most painful problem of the region, the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, is still unresolved. As a result of Armenia's military aggression, 20 per cent of the territory of Azerbaijan has been occupied – Nagorno-Karabakh, which is our historical land, and seven districts adjacent to it. Ethnic cleansing has been carried out on these territories and more than 1 million Azerbaijanis have become refugees and internally displaced persons. International organizations have expressed their position on the conflict. Four resolutions of the UN Security Council require immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. At the same time, there are also relevant resolutions of the OSCE, the European Parliament, PACE, NATO, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other international organizations. This conflict should be resolved only within the framework of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and in accordance with the norms of international law. The Joint Declaration signed today also states that this conflict must be resolved on the basis of norms and principles of international law, relevant revolutions of the UN Security Council, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Azerbaijan. I am grateful to you for this fair position.
Dear Mr. President, I would like to reaffirm my satisfaction with the visit to Latvia once again. I am sure that the friendship and cooperation between Azerbaijan and Latvia will successfully develop.
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