Sofia, March 4 AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov have held a joint press conference.
Statement by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
- Thank you very much, dear Prime Minister.
First of all, I want to thank you for inviting me to Bulgaria. I am very glad to be visiting your wonderful country.
Today, we sincerely discussed various aspects of Bulgarian-Azerbaijani relations and saw once again that our relations are at the highest level. Our relations are the relations of strategic partnership.
These relations have great prospects. First of all, there are high-level political ties. We meet with you on a regular basis. Strong political ties, of course, have a positive impact on all other areas. We also successfully cooperate and support each other in international organizations. During our meeting today we also discussed the relationship between the EU and Azerbaijan, as Bulgaria plays a very important role in the development of these relations.
Of course, the main focus of our talks was on bilateral relations, and we are seeing very positive results in this area. There are great opportunities in the economic field. I know that both Bulgarian and Azerbaijani companies are making great effort to implement joint activities.
Investment opportunities are being studied. Azerbaijani companies are actively preparing to invest in Bulgaria. At the same time, we would like to see Bulgarian companies in Azerbaijan as investors. At the same time, Bulgarian companies can participate in the implementation of infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan.
There are excellent opportunities in the transport sector. We have also exchanged views about that. Azerbaijan plays an active role in the creation of transport corridors in the region. Transport corridors East-West and North-South pass through Azerbaijan. This year, as a result of the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Azerbaijan will become a country that connects Europe with Asia. Of course, the development of the transport infrastructure and joint efforts will serve our economic interests and link our countries even more closely.
The main topic of our talks today, of course, were energy issues and the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor. Azerbaijan is pursuing a consistent policy in this direction. The projects initiated by Azerbaijan over the course of many years now serve the realization of the Southern Gas Corridor. For 20 years now Azerbaijan has been supplying its energy resources to world markets via different routes and has a widely diversified transport infrastructure. With regard to the Southern Gas Corridor, it is the largest infrastructure project being realized in Europe today. This project consists of several components. The segments of the Southern Gas Corridor are, first and foremost, the development of the "Shah Deniz" gas field, the expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline which connects Azerbaijan and Georgia, the implementation of the Trans-Anatolian pipeline project (TANAP) and the construction of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). Consistent work is under way on all fronts. In September of last year the foundation of the Southern Gas Corridor was laid in Baku, while in February of this year a joint Advisory Council of Ministers representing the countries of the Southern Gas Corridor was held in Baku with the participation of the Bulgarian energy minister.
Azerbaijan's gas resources serve both the well-being of the Azerbaijani people and the energy security of European consumers. Today, Azerbaijan is viewed in the documents of the European Union as a reliable and strategic partner. Azerbaijani gas is the only new source of gas which will soon be transported to Europe. Azerbaijan’s proven gas reserves constitute 2.6 trillion cubic meters. The widely diversified infrastructure allows us the opportunity to increase gas exports in any direction. The European market is a priority for us.
Azerbaijan-initiated projects in this area are also supported by European institutions.
The first Advisory Council held in Baku last month has actually become a very important step in coordinating this work.
We do hope that Bulgarian-Azerbaijani relations, as well as the work we are carrying out together with other members of the Southern Gas Corridor, will contribute to the timely implementation of the project and large volumes of Azerbaijani gas will be transported to Europe a few years later.
At the same time, I want to note that I am very glad that Bulgaria is a party to the project and a country currently receiving Azerbaijani gas. At the same time, I hope that Bulgaria will contribute and play a role as a transit country in the future, transporting Azerbaijani gas to other countries.
Therefore, our countries are actually entering a period of long-term strategic partnership today. This pleases me a lot. Bulgaria is a dear friend to us, a very close country to us and we have a great sympathy for the Bulgarian people. I take this opportunity to warmly congratulate you and the whole Bulgarian people on the national holiday marked yesterday. I wish Bulgaria continued success. Thank you.