Baku, November 28, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák.
Welcoming the delegation, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- Welcome to Azerbaijan! I am very pleased to see you. I am sure that your visit will be very fruitful and successful. Of course, we will cover issues related to our bilateral cooperation. In addition, we have a traditional agenda with you as chairman of the OSCE. I am convinced that the visit will contribute to the development of our ties. I believe that our ties are now entering a new and very active stage. Relatively recently, we met with the Prime Minister here, had a very good conversation related to the development of our partnership, and exchanged views.
There are numerous areas we can successfully cooperate in. We certainly have good political ties. However, we must focus on increasing the still very low turnover, look for ways of doing this. I think that more active relationships between our business circles can be one of the ways of doing that. Perhaps at a certain stage we can organize a joint business forum and other events to demonstrate our potential, because one of the reasons for the low trade is the lack of information. I am sure that if we have more contacts and more information related to our potential, this will have a positive impact. Of course, I think that issues related to projects connecting our countries can be of interest. As you know, at present Azerbaijan is actively engaged in the construction of bridges in the transport sector. We have already made great strides in connecting our railway system through Georgia and Turkey with partners in Europe and the Caspian region. We have already begun to receive transit freight from China and Central Asia, and these volumes are growing. Therefore, I think that we can start consultations between official representatives of the transport sector regarding a joint contribution to the increase in freight traffic.
Of course, energy security is a traditional topic of cooperation with European partners. We have successfully implemented all our major transnational energy projects, and very soon, within a few days, our natural gas will be physically on the border of the European Union. This is a tangible success achieved through comprehensive cooperation involving a number of countries and the European Union. As you know, Azerbaijan and the European Union traditionally hold the Advisory Council of the Southern Gas Corridor. We have already held five meetings. The next meeting will be held in February next year. This format of cooperation is very effective.
Of course, there are many other issues related to our partnership. Thanks to the liberalization of the visa regime, people from Slovakia can benefit from a simplified entry into Azerbaijan now. I was very happy to learn that you are opening an embassy in our country. This is a very positive indicator. At the same time, I instructed our team to take action in the same direction. Thus, there will be our representative office too, which, of course, will contribute to the search for even greater opportunities for cooperation.
Regarding the OSCE issues, the conflict certainly poses a major problem, a major threat to the region. I believe that this year, unfortunately, has been one of missed opportunities. The reason for this is Armenia’s reluctance to comply with international law and implement resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council and the OSCE. This year, several stages of negotiations were held at the level of heads of state and foreign ministers. The next meeting will be held in your country soon. We do hope that next year will be more productive because the soonest settlement of the conflict serves the interests of Azerbaijan and, I am sure, Armenia. However, in order to achieve some progress in this matter, tangible steps should be taken on the ground. The first step is the beginning of the de-occupation of internationally recognized borders and territories of Azerbaijan. Of course, we will discuss many other issues, but I think that is enough for a start.
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Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák said:
- Thank you very much, Mr. President. I am very glad to be in Baku again. Thank you for taking the time to receive me and our delegation.
I am very pleased to say that the most important part of my stay in Baku will be the opening of the Slovak Embassy here. Thus, we are keeping our promise and opening a new stage in bilateral relations. The fact is that we are aware of the great potential of your country. For several years now, we have had no doubt that we should have our own representative office here. Finally, we have managed to find the necessary resources and will be officially present here from now on. I have delegated one of our most experienced ambassadors here – my namesake Lajčák. cooperation issues cooperation in agriculture, pharmaceutical, energy, information and communication technologies
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Slovak Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák hailed Azerbaijan’s strategic position in the region.
The sides exchanged views on the establishment of Azerbaijan-Slovakia joint intergovernmental commission on cooperation, as well as issues of cooperation in a number of the fields, including in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, energy and information and communication technologies.
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