A credit agreement on construction of five modern schools was signed on August 19 in the Cabinet of Minister of Azerbaijan between the government of Azerbaijan and the Saudi Development Fund.

Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov making speech before the signing ceremony greeted the delegation of the Fund led by Deputy Chairman of the Saudi Development Fund, Yusif bin Ibrahim al-Bassam and spoke on historical roots uniting Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia and reminded that after President Heydar Aliyev visited the Kingdom in 1994, met with King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud he pointed out the necessity of widening of economic relations between the two countries.

The construction project of five schools in Baku was presented in April of 2000 at the Round Table held in Baku with the participation of the Saudi Development Fund, Islamic Bank for Development and other Arab foundations. Later, in the course of negotiations, the Fund agreed to allocate funds necessary for implementation of the project.

The republic faces the necessity of construction of 590 new schools, Deputy Prime Minister said. Some 684 are to be constructed and 1900 are to be reconstructed. Taking into account all these, the Program of new secondary schools construction, on reconstruction of old schools and installation of up-to-date equipment (2003-2007) was approved by the Presidential Decree of February 17, 2003.

Yusif bin Ibrahim al-Bassam said he was pleased with his visit to Azerbaijan, with public and political stability achieved due to President Heydar Aliyev’s efforts in the country. The relations between Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan are strengthening day by day, he said.

The Saudi Development Fund is very attentive towards the projects implemented in Azerbaijan and will always support them. Projects submitted by the government of Azerbaijan cause interest of other Arab foundations as well.

Further, Abid Sharifov and Yusif bin Ibrahim al-Bassam signed a credit agreement between the government of Azerbaijan and the Saudi Development Fund. According to the agreement, the Fund will give a 9,7 million US dollar credit for 20 years at the annual rate of interest of 2 percent to construct modern school buildings in Baku. Five schools are to be constructed in Khatai, Surakhani, Nasimi, Yasamali and Binagadi districts of Baku. Each school is meant for 1276 seats. The construction works are to start end-year.

After signing, Abid Sharifov and Yusif bin Ibrahim al-Bassam answered journalists’ questions.

Minister of Education, Misir Mardanov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Saudi Arabia Elman Arasli, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Azerbaijan Ali Hassan Ahmed Jafar and other official were present at the ceremony.

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