Baku, December 9, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by Undersecretary of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic, co-chair of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Italian Republic Manlio Di Stefano.
Welcoming the delegation, President Ilham Aliyev said:
-Remembering my very successful visit to your country once again, I would like to express gratitude of hospitality. I have very good memories of the visit, very good results and of course, the documents which were signed strengthen our partnership, especially, the document about the new format of strategic partnership between our countries. And also, my meetings with President, with Prime Minsiter, with the heads of two chambers of Parliament, mayor of Rome, all were very positive.
Manlio Di Stefano: You had the Italian delegation also a couple of days ago from Italy.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, I just received the delegation from Parliament, from different political groups and the head led by the deputy chairman of Parliament. They visited Aghdam, they visited Ganja, I was very touched by their decision to visit the cities which one suffered during the times of occupation and other suffered during the war, was hit by ballistic missiles and with many many victims. Though, talking about our relations, I am sure that they will have a great future, because so far we achieved great success in political, economic area, energy security area. Soon we will complete the final part of the Southern Gas Corridor, and thus, Italy and Azerbaijan will be very close partners in energy for decades ahead. This is a remarkable achievement of our joint efforts, on the efforts of the very broad group of countries. As you know every year we organize in Baku Advisory Council of the Southern Gas Corridor. Italy is always present at a high level, and these meetings also helped us in order to build this historical pipeline on the length of 3.5 thousand kilometers. So, on one end is Baku, on the other end is Italy and of course, we are looking forward to deepen our cooperation. I know that your agenda today will be also very busy. We want to take advantage of the excellent political relations between our countries to address the issues of economic cooperation and involvement of more Italian companies into the activity in Azerbaijan in traditional areas, and also with respect to our big plans to restore the destroyed cities of Azerbaijan. Because we need to build new infrastructure, new roads, new railway lines, new airports, new hospitals, new schools because Armenians destroyed everything. And these videos are now available. So, they leveled to ground our cities, behaved like barbarians and this once again, demonstrates their aggressive policy towards Azerbaijan. So, we already started, made the first steps in the area of reconstruction. First contracts have already been signed and as I said, we will work on the liberated lands with companies from friendly countries. The first contracts were signed with Turkish companies. This is natural, because Turkey is our brotherly country. I hope that the next contracts will be signed with Italian companies, and that will be also natural, because Italy is a very close friend to Azerbaijan. During long time of our diplomatic relations, and especially during the war, we felt your position and the fact that your parliamentarians visit Azerbaijan less than in one month after the war stopped, demonstrates our strong, friendly relations. And we highly value this gesture of solidarity, gesture of support. The delegation which I met two days ago was the first delegation from the European Union area, visiting us after the war. And I am sure that these gestures of friendship will have a practical implementation because today we talk about not only energy sector, but maybe non-energy sector, the big potential in the liberated lands for agriculture, for tourism, for creation of renewable sources of energy, and as I said already, the huge infrastructure projects. We are now preparing our plan for rehabilitation and reconstruction of those territories. And I am sure that we will work very successfully. I would also like to mention that the visit of Italian parliamentarians was very highly valued in Azerbaijani society. Because as you can imagine, people are very attentive and very sensitive to all the signs of support, and all the society accepted this visit as a sign of support. And also, what people say, and I share their view, is that while some of your neighbors in parliament adopt strange resolutions recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh, Italian parliamentarians came to Aghdam, came to Ganja to demonstrate their respect to Azerbaijan, to demonstrate solidarity to the sufferings of Azerbaijani people. And with respect to recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh, everybody knows that even Armenia did not recognize this illegal structure. Therefore, if some country wants to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh they can make some steps inside their own country, they can provide some lands in their own country, and to create the second Armenian state within their own country, not in Azerbaijan. Though, this once again shows that the friendship between our countries and mutual positive attitude between our peoples have already transformed into reality and we also consider your visit as a good sign of that. I am sure that there will be very positive outcomes of your visit and we will structure properly the agenda for the next these 5-10 years of strong cooperation in all the areas. So, once again, welcome to Azerbaijan.
Manlio Di Stefano: Thank you Mr President. First of all, let me tell you that it’s an honor for me to be here today. And I am really grateful to your government for the arrangement of this just 24 hours but very full in scale. So, yesterday I already met Minister of Foreign Affairs. It was a good pleasure for me, we exchanged a lot in any field, and today, we had the chance to meet other ministers and that’s a real sign of this cooperation that is in place between among us. Let me first of all to convey to you, your people our sympathy for the victims of the war, that was really tough one, and we followed it with great concern from Italy. You can not even imagine how much in Italy this war was felt, because we feel this area of the world being so close to us, in any sense. So we really tried to avoid any political understanding of the war, and we just tried to tell the truth to the country what was going on. And our political positioning, that I am glad you recognize is positive, was just based on UN resolutions and everything that was already written on the papers, I will say. Obviously, it was a real relief for us when ceasefire was signed. We think that it was the first and most important thing. Because you know when you stop having victims it always is a positive thing for everyone. And now, we really offer our availability, capability on helping going forward on the points of the trilateral declaration that we think is a really good starting point for everything you had to do right now, since now on.