Minsk, November 19, AZERTAC
Following the one-on-one meeting, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko have been joined by their delegations for a meeting in an expanded format.
The presidents made speeches at the meeting.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said:
- Dear Ilham Heydarovich.
I am genuinely delighted to welcome you to the capital of Belarus. This year, our countries celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. We have approached this date with good results. Over a quarter of the century, our bilateral dialogue has become strategic. The high level of interstate trust is not accidental. It is underpinned by the old tradition of friendship between Belarusian and Azerbaijani peoples. This affords us the opportunity to discuss even the most complex issues in a constructive atmosphere. Let me emphasize that Belarus is committed to systemic and long-term cooperation in the trade and economic sphere. Despite the positive dynamics of trade with Azerbaijan, its volumes are far from optimal, and we discussed this at length with Mr. President today. We see potential for an increase. Due to the similarity of our views on economic development with those of Mr. President, a foundation has been laid for broad industrial cooperation. A worthy example of such work has been demonstrated by the flagships of the Belarusian engineering industry – the Minsk Tractor Plant and the Minsk Automobile Plant, and the Ganja Automobile Plant. More than 10,000 tractors and 3,500 vehicles have already been assembled in Ganja.
Today we are ready to embark on a fundamentally new stage in our cooperation – joint development of the markets of third countries. We only dreamed about that before. The project for the production of tractors for Turkey with the participation of the Minsk and Ganja plants is at a high stage of readiness. Such initiatives have a great future and they must be emphasized. There are prospects for such areas as the supply and assembly of electric buses, elevators, combine harvesters and other agricultural equipment in Azerbaijan. We once had to make a decision on the production of our own combine harvesters, and we made no mistake. We are ready to create a joint production of this equipment in your country and work even more for third countries than in Azerbaijan because there, among your neighbors, the need for this equipment is much higher than in Azerbaijan itself. Therefore, we are ready, following the example of MAZ and MTZ, to engage in joint production of this equipment in Azerbaijan.
In addition, it is necessary to expand contacts in the agrarian sphere and increase mutual deliveries of food. Our dairy, meat, fish and confectionery products are in demand among Azerbaijani consumers. International trade is a two-way trade. Therefore, there is an interest in increasing the presence of your products on the Belarusian market. Mr. President spoke today about the Trading House he visited, and this is a future. There are prospects for the development of this network and their transition to regional centers. Let’s hope that these shops and houses are filled with your products. It is popular not only with Belarusians, there is a huge movement here in connection with Ukrainian events, all flows now go through Belarus and there is a huge demand for Azerbaijani products. In fact, the Azerbaijanis, as I always acknowledged, are the best people at commerce. We need to learn from you how to do that. In this connection, I welcome the opening of a Trading House in Minsk last year. We are providing maximum assistance to this project, and we intend to further support the proposals for a balanced increase in the turnover.
Just recently, you built an oil refining complex in Turkey. We would be delighted to see Azerbaijani investors in Belarus and are ready for serious interaction in strategic sectors. The possibility of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan investing in the modernization of “Grodno-Azot” is currently being discussed. We welcome these aspirations.
There is significant potential in the transport and logistical sector, for example, in railway communications, including the creation of an international transport corridor North-South and the “Silk Road Economic Belt” initiative. We are involved in these projects in one way or another. The creation of joint ventures in pharmaceuticals and coordination of efforts in the fields of information and communication technologies, science and culture seem quite promising. We are committed to continue training personnel for Azerbaijan in volumes and specializations necessary for you, including the training of your rescuers at the University of Civil Protection of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Belarus.
Close and active bilateral contacts are traditionally maintained between employees of law enforcement bodies, social security agencies, the agricultural sector, special communication and information. The agreements prepared for signing will make our cooperation even more effective. Belarus is grateful to consultants from Azerbaijan cooperating with the Directorate of the Second European Games, the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Let me thank you for your active help and support in the organization of the Games next year. And, of course, we look forward to seeing you all at these Games.
Let me emphasize that Azerbaijan has been and remains a reliable strategic partner for us. We value our friendship very highly and are also ready to sincerely and openly help advance the interests of Azerbaijan in the center of Europe. We do not have any closed topics for cooperation. We have never cooperated against any other third or fifth countries. We do everything for the well-being of our peoples. There are no and never will be any hidden topics. We are sincere and open to the whole world, and our relationship is as well.
Dear Ilham Heydarovich, let me once again welcome you and members of your delegation to Belarus. Please know that you are always welcome guests for us. Thank you.
Х Х Х
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said:
- Dear Alexander Grigoryevich, first of all, I would like to thank you again for the invitation. It is always delightful to visit Belarus. First of all, I would like to congratulate you and all the people of Belarus on your achievements in the socioeconomic development of your country. As someone who visits Belarus on a regular basis, I see how dynamically and effectively your country is developing. Our relationship is a good demonstration of sincerity and cooperation between our countries. We are actively interacting on all issues, and the decisions made are implemented without fail. You have mentioned the main areas of cooperation between our countries. I would like to note, in turn, that we see very active progress and good results in all these directions. Each of our meetings has given a strong impetus to our relations and led to the implementation of specific projects. We sum up what has been done, outline ways for further interaction and cooperation, and effectively implement the decisions we make.
Our cooperation in the field of international relations is also always very effective and predictable. We always support each other, and I think that our mutual support in international matters is a good demonstration of how sincere our relations are. We are pleased that trade between our countries is increasing. The commodity turnover is on an upward trend even though we significantly increased it both last year and this year. In the sphere of industrial cooperation, as you noted, there are extremely positive results, but we intend to continue cooperation and not to stop at what has been accomplished. There is still a lot we can do to further increase the potential for cooperation in the field of industry.
I think that one of the main directions of our future cooperation will be cooperation in the transport sector. You noted the North-South transport corridor in your remarks. Azerbaijan has completed all work related to the operation of this corridor on its territory. We are now working on further modernization of our transport infrastructure, which is already capable of transporting significant volumes of cargo. Azerbaijan is also an active participant in the East-West transport corridor. I think that the coordination of countries' actions on these two major transport routes will create completely a new environment for cooperation, lead to the creation of thousands, tens of thousands of jobs, and significantly increase the traffic between our countries. It is no coincidence that issues related to the transport sector were one of the key topics on the agenda of the intergovernmental commission’s meeting held yesterday.
Of course, we are closely watching Belarus preparing for the second European Games. This is natural. First of all, because we are friends. Secondly, because the first Games were held in Baku. We are confident that the sports infrastructure put in place, the excellent conditions for guests, as well as the high level of organization of international events Belarus has been demonstrating will help ensure that the Games will be held at a very high level.
As you noted, we are also paying great attention to cooperation in agriculture, education and science. In other words, it is easier to list the areas in which we do not have active cooperation than to mention the ones we have good results in. The key to our relationship is mutual support, mutual respect and a high level of mutual trust. I think that this is the basis on which we are creating, through joint effort, good opportunities for our countries and peoples. We are moving our relations forward. For Azerbaijan, Belarus is a good friend and a reliable partner. And I am sure that my visit today will give a new impetus to our relations.
Thank you once again for your hospitality, and I am confident that good results will lead to even greater interaction between our countries. Thank you.
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