Baku hosts 39th meeting of BSEC Foreign Ministers Council

Baku, December 14, AZERTAC

The 39th meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) has today been held in Baku.

Organized under the presidency of Azerbaijan, the meeting brought together delegations led by high-ranking officials from the member countries.

Chairing the meeting, Azerbaijan`s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said: “The Azerbaijani BSEC Chairmanship with its motto “Boosting Trade through Connectivity” has focused on regional connectivity issues and I am confident that today’s 39th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs will be another good opportunity to exchange views and to discuss the current state of cooperation within the Organization and perspectives for our further joint efforts.”

“Being a landlocked developing country, Azerbaijan from the early years of its independence has strongly been supportive to building of interconnectivity in the region. For the last two decades my country has already initiated and mostly commissioned a number of regional megaprojects in the field of energy (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, Baku-Supsa, Southern Gas Corridor: TANAP, TAP), transport (East-West and North-South international transport corridors, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, the new Baku International Sea Trade in Alat) and ICT (TASIM) which are aimed at strengthening regional economic links.”

The FM said: “The Azerbaijani Chairmanship paid a significant attention to the issue of connectivity within our Organization and has organized and facilitated a number meetings on different levels including two Ministerial Meetings on Transport and ICT in Baku for further contributing to development and expansion of trade flows within the BSEC region and beyond.”

“In conformity with our Chairmanship priorities, Azerbaijan also made efforts to streamline the ongoing reform process aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness of cooperation within our Organization. In this regard, we do believe that these efforts will be supported by incoming Chairmanships and the relevant Gap Analysis document recently prepared by BSEC PERMIS will guide us on this endeavor.”

Elmar Mammadyarov said: “Azerbaijan firmly believes in the prosperous future of the Black Sea region and has no doubt that this future can only be built on the basis of the good neighbourhood, mutual respect, humanity and tolerance. The biggest impediments for the regional cooperation, in particular, in the geography of BSEC are unresolved conflicts. For Azerbaijan and Armenia it is Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The military occupation of the territory of Azerbaijan does not represent a solution and will never produce a political outcome desired by Armenia. The principle position of Azerbaijan is running in line with the norms and principles of international law, reaffirmed in the BSEC Charter as well, particularly in respect of states’ territorial integrity, sovereignty within their internationally recognized borders. The still ongoing occupation and policies of self-isolation also deprive Armenia of its potential for economic growth and trade in the region. It also undermines our efforts to build a common regional trade in full respect to each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope whenever a new Government will be formed in Armenia upon the mandate of the people of this country we must make a breakthrough next year and build up a good opportunity for bringing peace, stability and prosperity to the region.”

FM Mammadyarov noted that Azerbaijan remains committed to the process of improving effectiveness of BSEC.

Azerbaijan's presidency in the organization under the motto “Boosting Trade through Connectivity” will last from July 1 to December 31, 2018. Development of transport hubs in the BSEC region, improvement of regional cooperation in areas such as tourism, agriculture and communications are among the key priorities of Azerbaijan’s presidency.

Bulgaria will assume the presidency of the BSEC from Azerbaijan.

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