Baku, November 28, AZERTAC
Following the ceremony of signing documents, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko have made press statements.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Alexander Grigoryevich,
Alexander Grigoryevich, please let me warmly welcome you to our country again – welcome to Azerbaijan! I am very pleased with your visit. Our meetings are of regular nature. We meet very often both within the framework of official visits – and there have been quite a lot of them already – and within working meetings. Our contacts are always very sincere, frank and friendly.
Your today’s visit, of course, is an important event in the development and strengthening of the relations between our countries. Many documents have just been signed, defining the future of cooperation in many areas. Today, within the framework of our face-to-face and expanded meetings, we discussed a very wide range of our relations and expressed a common desire to increase the potential for cooperation. Every single document signed is important. A special place among the documents, of course, is occupied by the Joint Declaration signed by the Presidents and defining the key directions of our cooperation and reflecting the spirit and nature of our relations.
We are very grateful to the Belarusian side for its position on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Belarus has always been in favor of the rule of law, international law and execution of the decisions and resolutions of international organizations.
We are determined to building up the potential for cooperation. We actively support each other in international organizations. Mutual support of our countries is already a reality and it is carried out as if in an automatic mode. It is particularly valuable is that we always support each other and speak out in the organizations of which either Belarus or Azerbaijan is not a member. This is especially valuable, because if you are a member of an organization and you are present at its meetings, you can always respond to lies, defamation and injustice. Belarus is a member of several organizations of which Azerbaijan is not a member. Also, we are a member of some organizations Belarus is not involved in, but we know that where there were attempts of unwarranted attacks on our countries within these organizations, we always expressed a principled stance. This is very valuable. I think that those present here will know what I am talking about, and we appreciate this level of cooperation. We have a unique relationship based on mutual respect, mutual sympathy, cooperation and mutual support. Today's talks and the exchange of views once again confirm that the main value of our relationship.
Of course, we have also discussed the practical implementation of the agreements reached and listened to the messages from members of delegations on many issues. We have also given specific instructions to relevant ministries, as well as the co-chairmen of the intergovernmental commission to prepare, in a short period of time, within one month, a new plan of actions on a swift and dramatic increase of trade between our countries.
We already have a good history of cooperation and implementation of joint projects. Among them, of course, a special place is occupied by a factory manufacturing tractors and now MAZ automobiles in Ganja. It was set up in a short time only after good wishes and kind words of the two presidents. Shortly afterwards, the Belarusian side helped us establish ultra-modern production, which also provides for the food security of Azerbaijan. We have largely reduced our dependence on foreign equipment and, it was reported today, we have begun exporting machines and tractors to other countries.
There is great potential for cooperation in the scientific sphere and in the sphere of education. We always treat these areas with great attention, because no country has a future without a high level of education and scientific research.
Today we discussed issues related to cooperation in the agricultural sector, and I am glad that Belarusian specialists will soon implement a major project in the field of agriculture where Belarus has a very good experience.
We expect to increase the potential for cooperation. Today, we decided to establish trading houses of Azerbaijan in Belarus and of Belarus in Azerbaijan. We are slightly behind the Belarusians in this issue. They already have their own retail outlets in Azerbaijan. We are going to do that, and I think that we will align our positions in this regard in the near future.
The value of our relationship also lies in the fact that we are not in competition with each other. We produce what the Belarusians do not – fruits, vegetables and other agricultural produce. Belarus produces what we import. Therefore, we have agreed to exercise specific control and give directions on how to increase the volume of trade, which, unfortunately, is very low.
Another important part of our cooperation is cooperation in the military and industrial sphere. Here too, we have been long-standing partners and have already tested each other. We are very pleased with the level of cooperation in the field of defense industry and we intend to expand it.
A relatively new area of our cooperation is the cooperation in the energy sector. Here too, we have given appropriate instructions so that this cooperation is long-term and sustainable because petroleum operations and exports of oil, of course, require long-term supplies. Also, I have raised the issue that we need to start consultations in the field of transport cooperation because, as you may know, we are implementing major projects in the region by creating new transport corridors. The geographical location of Azerbaijan and Belarus suggests that we should engage actively in this direction using our capabilities and contacts with different countries and increase the volume of freight traffic through our countries.
Of course, the official visit of the President is always important for bilateral relations. This visit, I am sure, will also serve to strengthen our cooperation and friendly relations. We value these relationships very much. They already have a good history. And as I said, we have tested each other in many historical situations and always witnessed reliability, integrity and mutual support.
Alexander Grigoryevich, welcome to Azerbaijan, and I wish you a pleasant and successful visit to country.